Work starts next week on £1.63m roundabout to replace Norfolk’s most dangerous main road junction

03 January 2018

Work is starting next week on a roundabout which will replace the A146 Hales junction which currently has the worst accident record for a main road in Norfolk.

Martin Wilby, Chairman of the Environment, Development and Transport Committee, said: “The accident stats spoke for themselves so it was clear this junction was a priority for improvement. The A146 is the main route between Norwich and Lowestoft and we’ve seen the road getting busier over recent years.

“The increase in traffic has contributed to a relatively high number of accidents at or near the junction with 50 people injured over the last ten years, and sadly one person has lost their life.

“It’s inevitable that there will be some disruption during the three months that the build will take but we’ll be working to keep that to a minimum and are grateful for everyone’s patience while work is underway.”

The £1.63m roundabout, paid for by money Norfolk County Council received from the Government’s new National Productivity Investment Fund* in January 2017, should significantly improve safety at the junction and help to reduce journey times.

Margaret Stone, County Councillor for the Clavering division which includes Hales, said: “It’s great to see work getting underway on this much needed improvement. Local people know that using this junction safely has increasingly entailed long waits and a lot of patience. This is an excellent use of public money, not only making it easier to get around the south-east of the county but also helping to keep people safe.”

Alan Mason, local resident, said: “I’ve lived here for nearly fourteen years. It’s a lovely, calm village apart from of course the traffic problems which have got ever greater since we’ve been here.

“If you need to get out it is the way out to Norwich or Beccles and the traffic build-up can sometimes be quite substantial, you can sit there sometimes for between five and 10 minutes at a really bad day at the wrong time.

“People run out of patience. You’ll find that you sit there and sit there and you’ll either get tooted from behind or you’ll get to the stage where someone will take a risk and that’s when the accidents happen.”

Phil Grimes, local resident, said: “First and foremost, the vital thing is that it’s going to be so much safer, it’s going to save lives, no doubt about that. It’s going to improve the flow of the traffic, make it much smoother, much less stressful for people getting to work, coming home from work, just to smooth out that journey rather than that anxious wait trying to dodge out in front of the traffic.

“People are massively in favour of it, they’re just waiting to see it completed – they’re going to be very, very happy.”

Preliminary work will be starting at the site next week to carry out utility diversions with roundabout construction work getting underway from 15 January.

The majority of the new roundabout will be constructed to the west of the existing A146 Beccles Road, so this will allow traffic to continue to use the A146 under a temporary 30mph speed limit. As the work progresses temporary traffic lights or temporary road closures/diversion routes will occasionally be required. Dates for any road closures will be available nearer the time as these are subject to change due to the nature of the project and weather conditions.

Part of the scheme will also see new laybys being constructed which will allow buses to stop safely on the A146. It is hoped this will increase the number of buses able to serve the village of Hales.

For further information

*The money for the roundabout at Hales comes from £5.1 million of funding Norfolk County Council received from the Government’s new National Productivity Investment Fund in January. The funding is to be used in 2017/18 for local highway and other transport improvements which support local economic growth and improve access to employment and housing.

The scheme is being delivered by Fox Contracts working on behalf of Norfolk County Council. This is the first highway improvement scheme which Fox Contracts will have delivered for the county council, the contract being awarded to them/procured via a tendering process through the Eastern Highways Alliance Framework contract.

For political comment

Cllr Martin Wilby (Conservative) Chairman of the Environment, Development and Transport Committee, on 07920 286618 or 01379 741504
Cllr Terry Jermy (Labour) on 01842 630851
Cllr Tim East (Liberal Democrat), on 01603 743241

Cllr Margaret Stone, County Councillor for the Clavering division which includes Hales, on 01508 499389

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