Lower speeds and fewer lines for West Norfolk roads

A47 traffic picture taken from the bridge between the Pullover and Hardwick roundabouts. ANL-140906-123228009
A47 traffic picture taken from the bridge between the Pullover and Hardwick roundabouts. ANL-140906-123228009
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Talks are continuing over plans which could lead to lower speed limits and fewer markings on some of West Norfolk’s roads.

National media reports this week suggested that parts of the county were set to be part of a trial where white lines were removed from some routes in an effort to improve safety.

But Norfolk County Council transport officials say that could be part of a far bigger project.

Tracy Jessop, the authority’s assistant director of highways and transport, said: “We’re in discussions with the Department for Transport on a scheme which would see a blanket reduction in speed limits to 40 miles per hour across an area of North Norfolk.

“Part of this proposed scheme would include the removal of the centre white line on some narrower roads.”

Proposals for lower speed limits in an area of north-western Norfolk within the boundaries of the A148 and A149 were first outlined last March.

If implemented, they would see 40 miles per hour restrictions in place on long stretches of the A149 to the north and east of Hunstanton and on many other unclassified roads.

The speed limits on B roads would also be cut to 50 miles per hour from the current 60.

The council initially believed a scheme could be in place later this year, but admitted that a new way would have to be found to inform motorists of the lower speed restrictions, instead of the regular repeater signs required under current legislation.

But, as new research indicates the removal of white lines can reduce drivers’ speed by up to 13 per cent, Ms Jessop said the measure had been part of the council’s safety measures for the past 15 years, where they met the necessary criteria and there was community support.

She said: “Fewer road markings can improve street safety for everyone by making drivers more cautious, increasing awareness and lowering speeds.

This is a routine part of our network management approach to support objectives to reduce congestion, and improve journey time reliability and safety.”

Figures released by the council last month showed that 33 people had died in crashes on the county’s roads last year, the lowest figure since records began in 1987.

The report also revealed that the total number of casualties, 2,375, was also down around eight per cent on the previous year.