An event today marked the official completion of the Hempnall roundabout project on the A140, to which New Anglia LEP contributed £650,000.
The redesigned junction has replaced the notorious Hempnall crossroads that had been the scene of a number of accidents over the years.
Cllr Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Infrastructure & Transport, said: “I’ve heard from so many people who have been using the new roundabout what a welcome change it is. This vital scheme is set to unlock economic growth, and is already cutting journey times, easing congestion and has improved safety on this increasingly busy route.
“Further improvements to the A140 south of the roundabout are hopefully on the way too. In October this year we secured £500,000 funding from the DfT to allow us to take the Long Stratton bypass project forward to the point where we can secure full funding. We’re now working hard to develop the detailed business case needed to take this vital scheme to the next stage.”
The old junction, known locally as the Hempnall crossroads, had a poor injury accident record, with eleven personal injury accidents in the five years up to the start of work on the new roundabout in May 2019. These accidents resulted in 15 casualties, with one categorised as serious.
Cllr Alison Thomas, County Councillor for the Long Stratton division, which includes the Hempnall roundabout, said: “The new roundabout has totally transformed journeys. Thankfully the long detours people used to make to avoid the dangerous old crossroads are a thing of the past. And parents of new drivers no longer need to advise them to avoid this junction due to safety concerns. This was a scheme I long campaigned for and it’s wonderful to see such a huge improvement now in place.”
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We’re pleased to have invested over £650,000 to support the creation of the new roundabout at Hempnall. It will ease congestion, make journeys faster and more reliable and make the road safer.
“Improving local transport links helps the economy to thrive – people can travel more reliably, goods can be transported more easily and there is less congestion.”
Peter Hyde, Highways Services director, said: “We’re really pleased to have been part of the team that has delivered this important project safely, on time and below budget improving both the safety and quality of local journeys”
Over the winter of 2019/20 the team will be planting 23 trees on site to replace 1 larger and 17 small trees that had to be removed to build the scheme. And 1km of hedgerow will also be planted, this is four times the length of hedge that had to be taken out at the start of the year.