The saga of Sandy Lane...
(or how I found the road block and had to turn my caravan round in a country lane)
WE were nearly home. A week earlier we had been in Cadiz ready for the long caravan haul to Santander and the ferry to blighty. As ever the UK traffic came as a shock and I fear our roads are as bad as theirs. But were on the A47 following mostly the lorry route via Lenwade to avoid dodgy bits of narrow roads.
Turning right at Wood Lane we had seen nothing to worry us. Turning away from the narrow Weston Longville lanes we headed toward Hockering and the lorry route proper. Ooops. Road ahead closed it said. Bit of an altercation with a not very friendly, helpful or sympathetic workman.
Fair enough I was a bit short but, in my defence, I had travelled 200 odd miles from Chichester after a fair slog across Spain. No help from him and nothing for it./ Unhitch the caravan, manhandle it around, re-hitch. Happily a passing lorry driver, equally bemused and equally unamused at the surprise road block lent a head. And for his heaver vehicle the barriers came down although his rough passage told us it was no option for us.
Anyway, you mostly know me. So I wrote to Norfolk County Highways and the local county councillor. And, as Ernie would have said, this is what I writ:
Totally incompetent diversion sign for Sandy Lane works approaching from east on A 47. Who knows where Sandy Lane is? Why should they? That is all it says. Who would know it affects route to
Lenwade and A 1067 since it doesn't say so! Anyone approaching from east on A47 would be misled, signs too late anyway; by then worrying about traffic ! I had to turn round my caravan round! No help from touchy employees - expected me not to be upset??? Useless signage. NCC must do better - again.
Now Bill Borrett, the victim councillor in this case, might be a Tory but he is an active and diligent county councillor. So via him I was in touch with the county highways department and the director of that division. At first, and I shall not include the response, they seemed to miss my general point and I had to emphasise the issue – you need to make sure we know what ROUTE is being affected, especially when it is an important one.
I was sent the map shown HERE. It raised further questions – like the idea that the A47 heads north and south for a start. Well, you can guess. I wrote again. And this time I got a really positive response which I happily publish here. Excellent and I hope it will encourage others to use the offices of their local councillor to get things improved.
And so, with thanks to Bill Borret (but no vote I am afraid Bill) and to Director McCabe here is the reply:
My local inspector has now had the opportunity to visit the site, and appraise the temporary signage.
The North/Southbound nomenclature on the diversion map refers to the direction traffic would normally be travelling on Sandy Lane if it were open.
Mr Woods' comments regarding destination rather than actual location of closure on the advance signage have some validity as, with hindsight, this would have been a better option in this case. Most traffic using the closed section of Sandy Lane would be heading generally southwards to the A47 or, generally northwards to the A1067. We will take this on board and this will be the recommendation for future closures of this section. The advance warning boards themselves should have been placed at a reasonable distance to be easily read and understood by motorists before they began slowing for the Wood Lane junction. Again the point is noted for future applications.
The southbound diversion route was revised to avoid the need to go as far west as North Tuddenham uses the Main Road interchange just north of Street Farm which offers much safer access back onto the A47.
Please thank Mr Woods for his input on this matter. It offers valuable feedback for planning future closures for work.