A47 - A1042
Where is it?
On the A47 east of Norwich, rebuilt to a new layout in anticipation of the yet-to-be-built Norwich Northern Distributor Road.
It was nominated by Paul Robson, Matthew and several others in Norwich.
What's wrong with it?
This junction has been changed to prepare for the new Norwich Northern Distributor Road, a major new route around the north of the city that will terminate on the A47 here at Postwick. What's wrong with it is the new layout — a sort of collision of two dumbbell junctions, fused together with the entrance to a park-and-ride site at a signalised junction. Admittedly, for as long as the new road ends in a field just to the north, it's not working as intended — but the early indications don't look entirely promising.
Beware of the aerial photography — it hasn't yet caught up with the latest modifications to Postwick Junction and doesn't show the full layout.
Why is it wrong?
The original layout here was a form of dumbbell — a roundabout either side of the A47, a bridge, four sliproads. The problem facing Norfolk County Council was how to modify that junction to allow a major new dual carriageway to terminate here.
One way to look at this problem would be to model possible traffic flows, examine the journeys through the junction that would be most common, and then provide a significantly upgraded junction that would almost certainly need to include some direct connections between the new road and the A47 without affecting existing traffic flows.
Another way to look at this problem — and this may or may not have been the approach taken by the engineers who took on the job, who knows — is to have a look what's left in your overdraft and wonder whether you've got enough money to build anything much. When the surveyor puffs out their cheeks, sticks their thumbs into their braces, and announces "well, it's going to cost you", you could then haggle until it's decided you have enough money to buy one bridge and a budget pack of five roundabouts (one size fits all, Made In China, not suitable for dishwasher or microwave use) and see what you can do with that.
We do not know, of course, which approach was followed at Postwick or whether some other form of reasoning is behind this unorthodox tangle. But the result is a junction that seems to involve some strange choices. The direct sliproad from the city to the A47 has been removed, making outbound traffic from the A1042 take an extended tour around two roundabouts and through some traffic lights; has added a roundabout serving a narrow road to the village of Postwick, when one hadn't been necessary before; and introduced a future pitfall that means when the new road is finally built it can be reached from the west by a free-flowing sliproad, but the reverse movement passes through a roundabout and a set of traffic lights.
What would be better?
Right to reply
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These are all the comments that have been made about this junction.
Paul is going the long way round]:
The worst route is if you want to come from the west and enter Norwich East. This used to be very popular, so much so that the roundabout where the sliproad joined had a filter just for this. Now you have to go round *five* roundabouts.
The first time I went round this mess my wife was driving, and she was convinced I was sending her on some sort of windup trip.
This junction is indeed a catatrophic combination of bad planning and a failure to listen to road users. The slip road from the eastbound southern bypass means a tortuous journey through confusingly signed lights and roundabouts which, even if negotiated successfully, adds an additional two miles or so and at least 15 minutes if you are unreasonable enough to want to go back into the city (to get to Thorpe for instance). Countless lorries have found themselves back on the A47 heading back to Yarmouth, the direction from which they have have just come and who actually want to get into Norwich. I like many local people are utterly confused by this nightmare and have genuinely got lost trying to negotiate it. And as for the congestion and associated delays it causes at peak times - clearly those responsible for proposing and approving the 'design' knew that they would never have to use it themselves. It is an embarrassing shambles. Thank goodness the Road to Nowhere, which won't join up to the A47 to the west of Norwich when completed, will not add any significant traffic to the junction.
Derek understands the situation:
The motto of Norfolk is "People in Norfolk do things different" - not differently, but different and that's important. This is different. It's also Norfolk and good so what could possibly go wrong?