Major roadworks will mean 31 mile diversion

FENLAND villagers, commuters, sugar beet lorry drivers and tourists will be among those hit by a huge 31-mile diversion when roadworks start on a main road next month.

FENLAND villagers, commuters, sugar beet lorry drivers and tourists will be among those hit by a huge 31-mile diversion when roadworks start on a main road next month.

Upwell and Outwell residents are among those facing massive delays as they try to catch a train from Downham Market.

An �800,000 project to repair a small section of the A1122 between Nordelph and Salters Lode, near Downham Market, is set to begin on October 18.

The road will be closed for eight weeks and motorists will be sent on a long diversion along the A1101, A47 to King’s Lynn and then the A10 to get to Downham Market.

As well as the massive detour, the roadworks have sparked concerns that hundreds of lorries will hurtle down narrow roads in surrounding villages to avoid using the diversion.

Councillor David Pope said: “Barroway Drove will be the easiest way to get into Downham Market during these roadworks but if the lorries use these roads, it is going to cause chaos.

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“Even if you know your way around these back roads, it is still going to be dangerous when it gets to October and November and its cold, wet and dark and you come across these lorries on narrow roads.

“I’m also not sure that people will want to use the diversion to go to Downham Market when they will be travelling past Wisbech and King’s Lynn to get there so it could have an impact on businesses in the town.”

Fellow councillor Vivienne Spikings added: “It’s going to be a big problem for a lot of people - especially if Wash Road in Welney is flooded - and I worry what the consequences will be.

“I wish these works had been done in the summer when the schools were off. I can’t believe how big the diversion is and having to use it twice a day is going to be quite an expense for families.”

Both councillors are also worried about the journey commuters from nearby Upwell and Outwell residents will face to drive to Downham Market train station to catch a train for London.

Barroway Drove resident Tim Wiseman said: “The biggest concern in the village is the amount of lorries that will be using the roads here to get to Downham Market.

“A lot of the lorry drivers are local and they aren’t going to take a 30 mile diversion when it is only a three mile detour to go through our village.

“My worry is some of the roads are not wide enough for two lorries to pass each other and there could be accidents. I am also expecting there to be lots of lorry traffic during the roadworks because it is sugar beet season.”

Explaining the roadworks, Mani Ghomi, from Norfolk County Council, said the structural layers of the road are weak because of the underlying peat and soft ground deposits.

He said: “Following a comprehensive ground investigation, the only treatment that will give more than a superficial repair is to reconstruct the carriageway by means of a recycling process.

“This is to create a more stable surface with a longer life expectancy that will reduce future maintenance.”

The recycling process will see contractors excavate to a depth of 900mm across the full width of the carriageway with large recycling vehicles before the road is resurfaced.

Mr Ghomi continued: “In order to carry this work out safely, both for the site workforce and the travelling public, a full road closure will be required for approximately eight weeks.

“I realise this work will cause disruption in the area for people wanting to use this length of the A1122 but I trust the explanation into the background will help [people] understand why this has to be done.”

The work is being carried out in two phases. Phase one will be to the east of Nordelph from the junction of the B1094 and phase two to the west of the B1094 junction.

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