Major £1m scheme to strenghthen Quay
Laura Bagshaw MOTORISTS in Great Yarmouth are bracing themselves for weeks of disruption after it emerged one of the town's main roads is “not fit for purpose”. Sections of South and Hall Quay will undergo a major repair job to the tune of £1m in October, after tests revealed the roads would not be able to cope with extra traffic the outer harbour is expected to generate.
MOTORISTS in Great Yarmouth are bracing themselves for weeks of disruption after it emerged one of the town's main roads is “not fit for purpose”.
Sections of South and Hall Quay will undergo a major repair job to the tune of £1m in October, after tests revealed the roads would not be able to cope with extra traffic the outer harbour is expected to generate.
Tests carried out by Norfolk County Council's highways team show the roads are seriously weak and if left could “potentially be dangerous.”
The works would see Haven Bridge - one of only two ways into the town from the south - partly closed to traffic while workmen dig about two feet into the ground.
Further tests would be carried out on the concrete foundations - and if they are in a poor condition, works could run longer.
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However, Norfolk County Council said while the roads could last another three year, delaying the improvements until the outer harbour opens would cause even more disruption.
Spokesman John Birchall said: “If it was left until the outer harbour opened it would clearly cause huge disruption and put a large number of vehicles, which obviously do not exist at the moment, through other parts of the town such as Marine Parade which has been regenerated. For that reason the work has been brought forward.”
Minor work to widen part of Hall Quay will start in September and the major works begin the following month - with the council wanting to avoid the busy summer season and the run up to Christmas.
Mr Birchall said that preparation on the scheme is still in the “early stages” but it was hoped that at least one lane on Haven Bridge could be left open during the works and exact detailing of traffic management was still being considered.
He said the council had considered closing Haven Bridge completely in order to get the work done as quickly as possible. However, following discussions it was decided this option would cause too much disruption in the town.
In the coming weeks, the county council is to talk with key stakeholders - including local businesses and bus companies - to see if ways can be found of minimising disruption.
Mr Birchall added: “The structure of the road does not last forever and will eventually break up. This work has to be done. If it was left the road would start to break up and fall to pieces.”
Work would be done during the day and night time - with noisy operations left completed during the day.
Labour councillor John Holmes said doing the work now was the “sensible” thing to do.
He said: “There would be nothing worse than saying lets leave it for a few years only to find it is not fit for purpose.”
Mr Holmes believes these works will help in the town's case for a third river crossing - unlikely to get off the ground before 2016.
“No one knows what the increase in traffic will be from the port but it could be substantial. This is a major piece of work which is making sure our roads are up to the job. It will be disruptive but the geography of Yarmouth tells you that whatever you do will be disruptive.”