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Delays on the roads in Norfolk and Suffolk getting worse as traffic hits an all-time high

PUBLISHED: 13:38 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:17 09 December 2017

Traffic queues on the A47 approaching the Hardwick Roundabout, in King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop

Traffic queues on the A47 approaching the Hardwick Roundabout, in King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop

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Delays on our region’s roads are getting worse, new figures reveal.

For every mile you travel on the A47, A10 or A11, you can now expect to be held up by a total of 27.4 seconds according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

That means for a daily commute of five miles a driver should add around two minutes to the journey to ensure they get to work on time. Anyone travelling 20 miles can expect a delay of around 9 minutes.

And if you’re travelling from King’s Lynn to Norwich, kiss goodbye to more than 20 minutes soaked up by congestion en route.

The latest statistics show delays have lengthened by 3pc in Norfolk and 6pc in Suffolk on the previous year.

A general view of morning rush hour traffic along Bracondale in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley A general view of morning rush hour traffic along Bracondale in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

Blackspots like the A10 and A17 approaching Lynn, the A47 at Honingham and the Acle Straight may have us thumping the steering wheel in frustration.

But believe it or not drivers in East Anglia are actually delayed less than those elsewhere in the UK.

The region overall has an average delay time of 45.9 seconds per mile, which was a 2.8pc increase on 2015.

While the DfT hasn’t yet released localised data for 2017, it has unveiled the England-wide numbers which show the average delay has increased once again to 46.4 seconds. It believes jams cost the economy £9bn a year.

Our roads are now busier than ever. 
Picture: Antony Kelly Our roads are now busier than ever. Picture: Antony Kelly

Tim Woodward, regional surveyor for the Country Land and Business Assoaiction, said: “Congested roads can prove a particular problem at certain times of the year, such as harvest time, when grain has to be shifted from field to grain store as fast as possible.

“We’re pleased to hear that in East Anglia, delays are less than in some other parts of the country, but to ensure that we continue to have a flourishing rural economy, we need to try to try to keep our roads in the region as clear as we can.”

Queues can be caused by anything from fuel spills, emergency repairs and broken down lorries, to congestion during peak times.

And the figures appear to show that traffic jams are getting longer.

All of this impacts speeds on A roads, where the average is 25mph despite speed limits ranging between 30mph to 70mph.

In 2016 motorists in Norfolk drove along at an average speed of 31.7mph - some of the fastest in England.

While data for individual stretches of road will not be published until next April, the DfT’s provisional road traffic estimates show the number of vehicles on our roads has reached al all-time high.

Last year, the figures say that Britons drove a total of 253.7bn miles in their cars.

Some 94.5bn of this was on rural A roads, where traffic increased by 1.4pc and the average speed for the year ending September 2017 was 25.3mph. Traffic on so-called minor rural roads also increased by 2pc to 46.2bn miles.

There are now 37.8m vehicles licensed for use on our roads - an increase of 1.9pc from last year.

While lorry traffic has fallen by 1.5pc, to 16.5bn vehicle miles, van traffic went up 3pc to a record 50.1bn miles.

The DfT says the overall increase in traffic reflects both the growth of our economy and increasing population and a decline in average fuel prices.

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