Plumstead Road closure – Middle Road delay
A four-week closure of Plumstead Road begins on Monday, 15th of January, to realign the road to connect with the new roundabout that has been built off-line, and which in turn connects via a short link road to the main NDR roundabout. As during other closures of Plumstead Road, the marked diversion will be via Salhouse Road. Unfortunately our hopes of having Middle Road open before Christmas were dashed by a turn in the weather that almost put paid to the opening of the A140 Cromer Road to the A1151 Wroxham Road section.
Fortunately, that 7.5km of dual carriageway had been all but finished, with surfacing and drainage in place, so once the snow and ice melted and the worst of the water drained, we were able to put all our efforts into getting that open, which duly happened overnight on December 20/21, just before the Christmas shut-down.
We were not so lucky on Middle Road. The rain, hail and snow arrived before the earthworks on the approach embankments had been fully compacted and protected by base asphalt layers. Since then there has been further very wet weather, preventing completion of the embankments – compaction is impossible while it is so wet. To get things moving again, Balfour Beatty are currently removing some of the worst affected material and replacing it with fresh. If this passes compaction tests, it will then be sealed and protected from the weather. The latest estimate is that the opening of Middle Road will be in the week beginning 12-February, but it still remains vulnerable to another bout of severe weather.
This is obviously disappointing, particularly since we had hoped to have Middle Road open before the Plumstead Road closure. Instead, we will be keeping Low Road and Smee Lane open, which otherwise would have been closed by now. (These, and other roads through the Plumsteads such as Hare Road, are programmed for pothole works before the Plumstead Road closure.) Although Low Road and Smee Lane will be available to local traffic, the marked diversion will be (from Plumstead side) via Broad Lane/Green Lane East, Salhouse Road and Woodside Road.
The closure has to be for four weeks because the realignment of Plumstead Road extends right back to the bridge under the NDR in one direction, and towards the Broad Lane junction in the other. Temporary traffic lights cannot be used because the nearby Plumstead Road level crossing, so the road has to be closed. As always, if we can open early, we will.
Rackheath Lane, Spixworth, closure – B1150 three-way lights
Monday (15th) will also see the permanent closure to vehicles of Rackheath Lane at its junction with the B1150 North Walsham Road, Spixworth. Journeys between the B1150 and A1151 Wroxham Road can now be made on the A1270 NDR dual carriageway, so this closure will stop traffic continuing to use unsuitable minor roads through to the A1151 Wroxham Road and Rackheath. It will also simplify the junction of Crostwick Lane, Spixworth, with the B1150. Traffic turning out of Crostwick Lane will no longer have to contend with traffic joining and crossing from Rackheath Lane. The mouth of Crostwick Lane is being altered to allow for more right turns towards Norwich and the NDR. This work, which will take three weeks to complete, will be carried out under three-way traffic lights on Crostwick Lane and North Walsham Road.
As part of this project, a private gated access road is being constructed allowing mainly agricultural vehicles between North Walsham Road and Rackheath Lane. In the meantime, special arrangements are being made to allow these vehicles – especially beet lorries that will be unable to turn round after loading – through the works. Once complete, cyclists and pedestrians will still have access into Rackheath Lane.