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Anger at Agency's Gapton Hall delays

PUBLISHED: 09:31 13 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:37 03 July 2010

The Highways Agency has been blasted for delaying vital improvement work to a notorious bottleneck roundabout on the A12 at Great Yarmouth.

A senior agency official had pledged in the summer that the £600,000 scheme to install hi-tech Mova traffic lights at the Gapton Hall roundabout would be carried out in September or October.

The Highways Agency has been blasted for delaying vital improvement work to a notorious bottleneck roundabout on the A12 at Great Yarmouth.

A senior agency official had pledged in the summer that the £600,000 scheme to install hi-tech Mova traffic lights at the Gapton Hall roundabout would be carried out in September or October.

The lights, which use cameras and computers to change signals to reflect traffic flow, are seen as a cost-effective way of easing traffic congestion, which at peak times can mean drivers taking half an hour to travel the three miles from Bradwell to Yarmouth town centre.

With no sign of the lights showing up, an agency spokesman yesterday admitted that “due to an unforeseen delay in finalising the design and technical safety approval for the proposed works, the start date has yet to be finally confirmed”.

“The agency takes safety on the network seriously and it is important that the work carried out on this roundabout meets the safety requirements,” she added.

Graham Plant, the borough council's cabinet member for regeneration and tourism, said it was a big disappointment that there would be another Christmas of traffic congestion.

Trying to squeeze the work in during the Christmas shopping period would cause even more traffic chaos, he added.

He said: “It is absolutely disgraceful that something that was agreed a year ago is still being delayed and procrastinated about by the Highways Agency.

“They already had the scheme on the screen when we were talking to them a year ago. The funding was sorted out, but now we have got another hold-up - what a load of rubbish.”

He said the hold-up on the roundabout work had come on top of major delays to a scheme to fill in ditches alongside the Acle Straight, highlighted earlier this month.

He said: “There seems to be a pattern emerging for the Eastern region with the agency deciding

not to spend any money here this year.”

Peter Barry, past president of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and the boss of Pasta Foods, which employs 130 people in Yarmouth, said: “This is yet another broken promise and given that people are still finding congestion in Yarmouth getting worse, this delay by the Highways Agency is totally unsatisfactory.

“To take 20 minutes to get through a roundabout is ridiculous and the delays in moving goods and people are costing businesses money.”

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