The long-running problems at a major traffic choke point in Diss look set to continue with the only viable permanent solution to the issue being described as expensive and time-consuming to bring in.
Public outcry has increased in recent weeks about the congestion on the A1066 Victoria Road and Vinces Road, with commuters reporting wait times of up to an hour to travel 400 metres.
At a meeting of Diss Town Council’s Highways Committee on Wednesday, they said that the issue could be addressed with the introduction of a three-lane traffic system at the bottom of Vinces Road, which would require buying adjoining land for the road to be widened, at a significant cost.
Diss and Roydon county councillor Jenny Chamberlin, on the committee, called for greater joined-up forward planning with South Norfolk Council and Norfolk County Council, the bodies who would need to be involved in funding and implementing any potential road expansion.
“This is an issue that needs addressing as a matter of urgency. The fundamental thing that we need is a joint economic development plan,” said Cllr Chamberlin.
Some town councillors had hoped the existing road could be repainted with three lanes to improve the flow, but county council highways engineer Bob Edwards stated that regulations required a minimum of 3.25 metres in width per lane, which could not currently be accommodated.
The traffic bottleneck became a particular source of irritation for drivers last week following heavy delays and tailbacks caused by roadworks to repair a collapsed sewer in Victoria Road.
And more woe lies ahead. Further works-related delays are expected in the near future, with Anglian Water informing the town council that more problems with the sewer had been identified.
Residents of the nearby Frenze Road added to the furore this week, lodging complaints which alleged that workers at major Diss employer Midwich, a technology solutions firm based in Vinces Road, had been parking inappropriately to try to avoid the rush hour traffic jams.
Simon Evetts, Midwich operations manager, told the council during this most recent meeting that some workers at the company were considering quitting their employment, such was their frustration over delays in getting to and from work.
Mr Evetts said: “We (Midwich) don’t want to move from Diss because we have a good core of people here, but the road is just dreadful and it’s very frustrating.
“I feel sorry for the people living in Frenze Road. We are staggering our work hours and encouraging everyone to keep using the company car park, but now we need your (Diss Town Council’s) support.”
The council previously agreed to the proposal of a £6,000 ‘Jam Cam’, a fixed camera at the bottom of Vinces Road that, when permanently installed at the end of this month, will stream footage of the road so that commuters can plan their getaways by viewing an online feed.
However, Councillor Julian Mason, Highways Committee vice-chairman, has denounced the ‘Jam Cam’ concept as a “waste of time.”
Cllr Mason said: “The problem is right here and now. We have to deal with root of the problem or it is never going to go away.”
The town council has arranged an on-site meeting for an unconfirmed date in the near future with South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon and representatives from Norfolk County Council, in order to further assess their options.
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