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Agency sensitive over criticism

PUBLISHED: 16:41 21 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:37 03 July 2010

THE Highways Agency is keen to get a resolution on the table for the notorious Gapton Hall roundabout because they have become sensitive to the people of Great Yarmouth, councillors were told.

THE Highways Agency is keen to get a resolution on the table for the notorious Gapton Hall roundabout because they have become sensitive to the people of Great Yarmouth, councillors were told.

Minor works on lane improvements could be carried out later this year at the A12 northbound approach and it is hoped a traffic lights scheme, designed to ease congestion, will be installed next year at the bottleneck roundabout.

However, neither scheme is set in stone with both projects needing funding to be agreed.

While county councillors at Yarmouth's area committee meeting on Monday were pleased to hear the Highways Agency was sensitive to townspeople they were not overwhelmed with the small progress made.

Trevor Wainwright said he really hoped the improvements would finally come about after years of discussion.

He said: “We have been talking about this for years and it is a shame we are still talking about it. On Saturday it was taking people 40 minutes to get from Bradwell into Yarmouth, traffic was backed up to the width restrictors in Bradwell.

“I hope we can move this on but I can see us sitting here one year on still talking about it.”

Conservative councillor Jim Shrimplin said it was good to hear the Highways Agency had become sensitive to people in Yarmouth but still questioned the Highways Agency's ability to sort the problem bottleneck out.

The Highways Agency was heavily criticised over its computer modelling of the roundabout which had not included extra traffic that the outer harbour is expected to generate when it opens for business next year.

Laurie Egan, network manager at Norfolk County Council's planning and transportation department, said the Highways Agency had become sensitive to the issue of Gapton Hall.

He said the county council had passed on information that it had gathered on the expected increase in traffic flow from the outer harbour to the Highways Agency who would be running it through their computer model.

“This is being worked on at the moment and I hope to report back on that work at the next meeting. They were sensitive to criticism and we are all working to ensure this progress comes to fruition.”

The Highways Agency's agents Atkins claim a new Mova traffic light system - which changes signal time to reflect traffic flow - could cut queuing time at the A12 Gapton Hall roundabout by more than half.

The £634,000 scheme is subject to another funding round later this year with work expected to be carried out in the next financial year (2009-10).

Councillors will review the matter at their next meeting in October where it is hoped a representative from the Highways Agency will be present to answer questions from councillors.

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