The lack of a pedestrian or cycle route across the Longwater junction has been a problem since the early 1990s, but whereas money has been spent to try to cope with the traffic, nothing has been done to provide a safe route for pedestrians or cyclists.
A walk through of the existing informal route across the junction
We’ll follow the well-used path from the direction of Easton to the Longwater shops and towards the city on Dereham Road.
These images are from Google Street View, click the picture for a larger version of the image or click the link in the caption to see the original.
If we approach the junction on the south side of Dereham Road coming from Easton on what counts as a footpath, this finishes and we have to cross the road where a reasonable footpath starts. There is no cycle provision here and no safe way to cross.
However, the path soon ends and is replaced by a well-worn track in the grass towards the junction. This is opposite the entrance to the Norfolk Showground and during events large numbers of people follow this unofficial route.
At one point the informal path has to squeeze past a road sign, probably forcing people to walk in the road.
We’re heading straight on toward the bridge directly ahead and at the junction cyclists on the road have to cross the path of fast moving traffic heading to the westbound slip road to the A47. Less confident cyclists would join the muddy track at this point, rather than risk the roundabout, so as to cross the slip road. The traffic moves very fast here and you really do need your wits about you.
Once over the slip road the track continues towards the bridge over the A47. Beyond here, the path is forced into a narrow space right on the edge of the road.
Pedestrians and cyclists following this track are forced close to the road by the fence just visible on the left. The track here is very narrow.
The narrow muddy track gives way to a path with a proper hard surface across the bridge. It is, however, still very narrow at just 1.5 metres wide.
After the bridge, the narrow muddy track returns as we head for the eastbound slip road from the A47 which we need to cross to reach William Frost Way.
Before we get to the slip road off the A47 the track runs over a hard standing parking area for maintenance vehicles (visible to the left of the column with the square base). If something is parked there, the path is blocked.
Actually getting across this slip road is usually fairly easy because the traffic stops for the roundabout, but it is very busy.
Crossing William Frost Way
Once across the A47 junction we need to cross William Frost Way.
Once across the second slip road the muddy track joins a shared-use cycle track alongside William Frost Way which ends at what used to be the place where people crossed William Frost Way before the bypass lane was added, This is now a very dangerous place to try and cross, but as the picture below shows, people still do so because this is the desire line, it’s the direction people want to go.
The safest (that’s a relative term) way to get across from the western side of Dereham Road to the city side is to follow William Frost Way a short distance, cross over the dangerous entrance to the main car park to where the designated but unmarked crossing is pm the small triangular island.
Traffic moves quickly here but if you’re patient and quick you can get across to the small fenced-in central island refuge. You then cross the second carriageway, turn right and cross the dangerous entrance and exit to the Next car park where you finally join the shared use cycle track back up the hill toward Norwich.
It’s worth noting that the entrance to both of these car parks is gently flared and designed to be driven at speed.
This is a very low capacity and indirect crossing and if more than a couple of cyclists try to do so, it would be overloaded both at the small fenced-in central refuge and on the centre island of the road accessing the car park.
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