Roads surrounding the Fiveways Roundabout have been closed until 30th August as construction begins to improve the current traffic system. The plans aim to make the area safer for cyclists, due to the roundabout’s history of accidents, some of which proved fatal.
Whilst Earlham Road remains open for through-traffic, Bluebell Road, Earlham Green Lane and Gipsy Lane are shut and have no access to the roundabout, as the 12-week plan completely revamps the roundabout.
The £765,000 project will see existing signalled crossings upgraded to Toucan crossings (meaning both pedestrians and cyclists can utilise them), building ‘Splitter’ Islands on the busiest arms, improved street-lighting and construction of a raised table on Gipsy Lane.
Proposed Road Changes (Source: Norwich City Council)
Other improvements include resizing the roundabout’s central island, resurfacing the area, and connecting all four Toucan crossings with a shared cycle/pedestrian path.
Whilst the council has scheduled the work during the summer holidays, to minimise potential disruption, the closures are still having an impact on the area.
First Bus have stated that the roadworks will also specifically affect the number 25 & 26 bus services to the University, saying; “Evening buses that usually go via Earlham Road will enter the university at the Bluebell Road entrance and turn at the Earlham Park gates to return to the city.”
The Fiveways is also the location of a busy Tesco Express Petrol Station, who have explained that despite the prominent roadworks, business will continue as usual. A spokesperson for Tesco said:
“We were approached by Norfolk County Council ahead of the planned roadworks on Earlham Road regarding access to the store and petrol filling station forecourt. We will continue to liaise with the Council throughout the works to try to minimise any disruption and the store remains open as normal.”
Though some drivers seem to have taken another meaning to this message and have been observed using the Earlham Road store’s forecourt as a rat-run to bypass the junction closures.
Councillor Matthew Fulton-McAlister believes that once the work is completed, the area will be much safe for cyclists, as well other road users, stating; “allowing dedicated cycle areas on the roundabout will enable cyclists to be more separated from the vehicles which use the roundabout, especially the heavy goods vehicles which can often prove a huge problem for cyclists.”
The work will be continuing throughout the summer and is scheduled to be completed on the 30th August this year, meaning local road users will have to familiarise themselves with the temporary traffic system, though Cllr. Fulton-McAlister believes that; “Any initial teething problems have now been ironed out.”
All images: Ben Hinton