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Concern over A47 rat-runners

PUBLISHED: 11:00 22 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:43 07 July 2010

Villagers in Honingham, including Brian Winchester, Elizabeth Parry and Terry Sapey, last year called for a speeding crackdown by police after motorists started using the village as a cut through too avoid traffic queuing on the A47. Photo: EDP Archive.

Villagers in Honingham, including Brian Winchester, Elizabeth Parry and Terry Sapey, last year called for a speeding crackdown by police after motorists started using the village as a cut through too avoid traffic queuing on the A47. Photo: EDP Archive.

Emma Knights

Persistent problems with drivers using back roads to avoid rush hour congestion on the A47 will be put in the spotlight at a meeting next month.

Persistent problems with drivers using back roads to avoid rush hour congestion on the A47 will be put in the spotlight at a meeting next month.

The Honingham roundabout was built on the A47 because the junction had become a notorious accident spot.

But ever since its creation last year nearby villages have suffered from huge increases in traffic on weekday mornings as Norwich-bound drivers try to beat tailbacks on the A47 by turning right at Berry's Lane and using back roads to gain right of way on the roundabout.

Honingham Parish Council intends to hold a public meeting about the situation on Thursday, March 4.

Parish council chairman Brian Winchester said in particular there are problems with rush hour traffic on The Street in Honingham.

“The Street itself is narrow and has a number of sharp bends and a bus stop where children are collected for school in the mornings. The numbers vary during this two hour period but regularly top 450 to 500 assorted vehicles in the time between 7.15am and 8.45am,” he said.

“Some of these vehicles speed through the village to gain as much of an advantage as they can at the roundabout. The A47 was originally built as a bypass for this village but now we are back to square one.”

Honingham Parish Council has suggested to the authorities possible ways to alleviate the problem - including banning traffic from turning off the A47 onto Berry's Lane at all times or banning traffic from doing this between 7am and 9am, or not allowing any vehicles except buses to turn right there from 7am until 9am.

However, as reported earlier this month, the Highways Agency wants to install part-time traffic lights to ease the peak-time traffic congestion caused by the roundabout. The authority plans to undertake a detailed design in the next financial year and, if funding is available, it hopes to install the traffic lights in early 2011/12.

But Mr Winchester said something needs to be done sooner.

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: “Even though the problem is on our network of roads, the cause of this is still the A47 which is maintained by the Highways Agency.”

He added that the county council, along with various politicians and the A47 Alliance, has lobbied the Highways Agency to try and resolve the problem and was awaiting a decision from the Highways Agency about traffic lights on the roundabout.

t The meeting will be on Thursday, March 4 at 7.30pm at Honingham Village Hall.

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