Traffic lights system 'a waste'

PUBLISHED: 09:55 07 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:31 03 July 2010

A proposed £1m traffic lights scheme designed to ease congestion at a bottleneck on the edge of Yarmouth was last night branded a “complete waste of time and money”.

A proposed £1m traffic lights scheme designed to ease congestion at a bottleneck on the edge of Yarmouth was last night branded a “complete waste of time and money”.

The Highways Agency's agent Atkins claims 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.

Subject to funds being available, it is proposing to install the lights in the next financial year (2009-10), with detailed design work this year.

However, borough council cabinet member Graham Plant, who chairs a Gapton Hall taskforce of councillors and business leaders, said the agency's computer modelling of traffic flow was flawed as it had thus far taken no account of the increase in vehicles that would be generated by the outer harbour, developments instigated by the urban regeneration company 1st East and the probable arrival of the large casino.

Mr Plant said any improvement in the roundabout's performance was likely to be totally absorbed by such extra traffic, rendering the project a “complete waste of time and money in the short and long term”.

In a letter to agency route manager Ranjit Mistry, he calls on the agency to address the problem more urgently and look for a more radical solution such as a flyover.

He said: “The problems are created at Gapton Hall because the A12 meets the busiest B road in the borough, taking traffic to and from the industrial estate and through to Bradwell.”

At public meetings organised by the Gapton Hall taskforce over the past two years there have been numerous complaints from residents in Brad-well that their three-mile journey to Yarmouth via the roundabout often takes more than 30 minutes.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: “The preferred solution for the Gapton Hall roundabout demonstrates the best journey times/queue lengths from nine alternatives we developed.

“The Highways Agency met with Norfolk County Council and other stakeholders in July to discuss the Yarmouth Outer Harbour development and its potential effect on the roundabout. Following this meeting, the council has agreed to share with us data, produced by freight transport specialist MDS Transmodal, which is currently going through a validation process.

“Once this data is made available, it will be used to assess the impact of the Yarmouth Outer Harbour proposal on the Highways Agency's preferred option for the Gapton Hall roundabout.”

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