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Thickthorn Roundabout

We consider the current markings on Thickthorn Roundabout dangerous and the area is a major accident waiting to happen. If you support this view please let us know so that we can send evidence/comments to the Highways Agency.

Below are some of the comments we have received already:

Comments Against the Current Markings (35 received) -

"The current markings on the roundabout are confusing and potentially dangerous. It's an accident waiting to happen and we cannot understand why the Highways Department will not listen to the views of local people - many of whom detest using the roundabout." - Hethersett On The Web

"It's never been clear from any direction you approach it from!" - Norfolk Resident

"The road markings coming from Norwich and Yarmouth are confusing for which lane to get in, I am always seeing people bring cut up." - Local Resident

"Definitely the exit from Yarmouth direction. I dread it every time!" - Local Resident

"It is clear that changes to traffic flow around Thickthorn, which were ostensibly made to improve the movement of vehicles around the junction, have caused confusion and have potentially put drivers in danger - MP Richard Bacon

"Local residents have almost on a daily basis a tale to tell of near misses when using the roundabout. The last thing that is needed is a serious accident or fatality to generate improvements." - Hethersett Parish Council.

"I use it daily and it's always risky." - Local resident

"I agree with the comments about the exit from the Yarmouth direction. Also coming from Norwich I have been cut up by people changing lanes at the last minute." - Local resident

"Watch out for cars switching lanes because they have no idea where they are going or which lane they should be in" - Local Resident

"Dread Yarmouth every time I approach it, I do as it says but no one else does" - Local resident.

"I have had a lot of close calls when coming off the bypass from the Yarmouth direction. I always get in the right hand lane as directed by the road markings but more often than not cars in the middle lane which are directed to go to Thetford/A11 ignore this and dive across to go to Hethersett and cut me up." - Local Resident.

"I hate leaving A47 to go to Hethersett, never sure which lane to be in and end up being confused as other drivers cut across." - Local Resident.

"I followed the lane instructions once when coming from Yarmouth to Hethersett and nearly came unstuck from a car cutting across me. I therefore now do nto follow the lane instructions." - Local Resident

"I hate that roundabout! Trying to get to Hethersett is a nightmare! If you stick to the markings you get cut up or in the wrong lane to go to Hethersett. So many near misses, I avoid it if I can." - Local Resident

"Coming off the A47 from Yarmouth the lane they have got marked for Hethersett is the outside lane, which means you have to cross 3 lanes to get to the inside lane to Hethersett. To me it should be the centre lane for Hethersett, so you can filter in safely without cutting anyone up." - Local Resident

"I do the A47 from Yarmouth to Hethersett every day; the road markings do not make sense and the situation is made worse by some drivers taking the logical route (can't blame them) which means that the vehicles obeying the road signs/markings have to avoid them to get in to the right lane to get to the Hethersett turning. Definitely needs changing...."  Local Resident

"It's rubbish I can't believe it has taken so long to recognise the problem, I avoid the roundabout now when coming from hospital. I have had too many near misses." - Local Resident

"I do the A47 from Yarmouth to Hethersett every day; the road markings do not make sense and the situation is made worse by some drivers taking the logical route (can't blame them) which means that the vehicles obeying the road signs/markings have to avoid them to get in to the right lane to get to the Hethersett turning. Definitely needs changing...." - Local Residents.

"I regularly travel from the westbound A47 to Hethersett and experience cars in the wrong lane on a regular basis.  I am very surprised that I haven't witnessed an accident. The slip road marking currently indicates the two left hand lanes should proceed to the A11 southbound and the third lane, the right hand one is marked for traffic taking all other directions off the roundabout.  I regularly find that the traffic in the right hand lane  has quite a long queue in comparison to the middle lane. The previous lane markings were confusing as the middle lane arrow markings indicated left (A11) and straight on (B1172) but Hethersett was marked in words on the right hand lane.  I always used the middle lane then as it made more sense and was a more sensible route.  I was very disappointed when the lines were remarked (last year was it) and going 'straight on' from the middle lane was no longer permitted.  However I regularly find cars still using the middle lane to travel to the B1172.  This then results in cars from both lanes aiming in the same direction. Which is definitely an accident waiting to happen (If it hasn't already).  In addition I personally find that heading to the B1172 from that right hand lane is tricky, not only because you are looking out for cars in the wrong lane but because it just doesn't feel right!!" - Local Resident.

"I agree about the exit lanes from the A47 from Yarmouth. The road markings are counter intuitive and, as they are not mandatory, they are dangerous. It is an accident waiting to happen." - Local Resident

"Definitely dangerous. Every time myself and my husband fo round we say - this is so dangerous and the road markings are rubbish."

"When coming from Norwich I get in the right hand lane before the roundabout as markings and words on the road instruct me to. Then when going through the lights under the road above I get in the left hand lane again ready to turn left at the roundabout to head for Norwich Road. But more often than not there is some idiot who has taken the Thetford Lane and then pushes into the lane I am in to get onto Norwich Road. Maybe they are not idiots but are confused by the line markings. I have had many near misses at this roundabout. As a consequence I always have to take my eyes off the road ahead to look over my left shoulder when getting in the correct lane to check that someone isn't going to get into that lane at the same time". - Local resident.

"Definitely think there should be a change in the markings. Can't believe it has been like this for so long when it is clearly not working for drivers."

"I hate using Thickthorn and for me I think the middle lane is the safest from the Yarmouth Rd, I have even had to go around the roundabout again because I could not get into the left lane because of being cut up by other drivers who want to go to Norwich, so I'm sticking to the middle lane, by the same token I think the slip road to Longwater is terrible, it makes no difference what lane you go in. I have seen and been involved in a few near misses I can only assume the same idiot has designed both roundabouts."

"The issue I find which is potentially very dangerous is that as you approach the Hethersett/Wymondham Road exit and wait for the Norwich bound traffic to stop you have the option of being in the far left lane and the one next to that. The far left lane is marked for Swaffham so the driver in that lane has to pass the Hethersett/Wymondham exit to get onto the Swaffham A47 slip road. If another driver is in the lane next to that they have the option of going round the roundabout or exiting to Hethersett (the exit road is dueled). They could potentially collide with the driver who is on the outside of the roundabout and crossing this exit road to get to Swaffham. This does not seem to be very well thought out. It would make more sense for Hethersett to be marked on the far left road tarmac and Swaffham on the lane next to that?"

"The markings on the roundabout are as previous writers have stated counter-intuitive and go against the guidelines and advice within the Highway Code which contains the caveat ‘unless signs indicate otherwise’"

"I often drive a van from A47 Great Yarmouth. I always use the middle lane. Why? I have a massive blind spot on my nearside. I cannot see anyone close up and the side of my van has no windows to perform a glance to the left and behind. It is much safer for me to use the nearside so all traffic is to the offside where I can monitor it. Much more dangerous is the movement of offside traffic to the nearside without a glance or consideration that there many be someone there. Previously that middle lane was marked PR and Services, but led directly to the lane that then said Hethersett. My observations on this roundabout is that the majority, and it is a large majority, of the vehicles using the outer lane from A47 carry on round towards Norwich.

"I know of one accident (not serious...just a bump) as a result of lane confusion. I wrote to the HA last September on this very issue and was told that they would monitor the roundabout through safety audits (what else would they say). In my view the old exit system was fine. The whole roundabout is getting very congested during rush hour. It's getting much harder to enter from Hethersett. I don't think the bus lane is necessary and it's being abused."

"So simple in my eyes to resolve - just return the markings to how they were before."

"The one part of Thickthorn that could possibly change is the slip road that joins Thickthorn from A47 Yarmouth."

"There are three lanes, left, centre and right. Both left and centre only go left (A11 southbound). Leaving only the right lane to feed services, Hethersett, A47 and A11 northbound. You find a lot of drivers still use the centre lane to continue straight (services, Hethersett). It's obvious the lanes are directed the way they are for reduction of traffic sitting at Thickthorn, but it would probably reduce the confusion if the middle lane was an option of left, and straight over only. This would reduce the amount of drivers cutting people up." 

"Coming from Hethersett, whether going in the Dereham, city or Yarmouth direction seems fine to me, as does getting  onto the roundabout from other directions – and the traffic lights are quick and seem to work well. For me, there is ONE  exception which is a bit nervy if not actually dangerous! From the sliproad off the A47 coming from Yarmouth direction, the left and middle lanes are both indicated for A11 only but this is ignored by many going to Hethersett or Dereham (me included, I confess) who use that lane anyway in preference to the right hand lane. If you DO use the correct (ie right hand) lane, then maneuvering  into the Hethersett exit is sometimes a bit hairy. In fact, my daughter had a minor accident there a couple of years ago because of this lane confusion and it caused great loss of confidence as she was an inexperienced driver. I’m sure there are good reasons why not and I am no expert but for me it would seem more logical for that sliproad to be marked like this."

"Left hand lane - A11 southbound. Middle lane - A11 southbound, Hethersett, services and A47 westbound. Right hand lane – Norwich."

"Just re-mark the slip road from Yarmouth with a centre lane option of Heth/Serv
Job done and fuss over with."

"My only comment is that it is not intuitive to use the right hand lane on the slip road when coming from Yarmouth on the A47 and going to Hethersett.   The Hethersett exit is left of straight and people don’t expect to be in the right hand lane of three – this leads to confusion." 

Comments in Favour of the Current Markings: (6 received)

"Since the lane changes have been made I no longer feel I am taking my life in my hands every time I use the roundabout. Some road signs along with the road markings would be useful though." - Local Resident

"It's an interesting one. IMHO the roundabout is really well marked with the lanes clearly signposted on all approaches, and whilst on the roundabout itself. In fact I think it is the best it has ever been. I will concede that some elements are not all that intuitive. Eg the previously mentioned westbound A47 to Hetherett lane, and similarly the Eastbound A47 to A11 South. However these look like they are based on balancing traffic flows. Many drivers simply don't pay sufficient attention, think they know better, or are trying to queue jump. These things are difficult to address but if we all do our part....." - Local Resident

"I think it's interesting how many people have had bad experiences, being cut up by other people in the wrong lane. However what is even more interesting is the number of people who have subsequently decided to follow suit in the belief it is safer to use the wrong lane; the middle lane exit from Yarmouth towards Hethersett is a common example quoted. What bemuses me is why so many people actively choose to become part of the problem..... and then complain about it. The roundabout is very well signed and marked, and flows better than it has ever flowed. If drivers paid attention and followed the signage, there would be no problem. Drivers need to try and be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem."

"I personally have no problems with Thickthorn at all, I use it daily and keep to the lanes and have no problem. I do find that others can't seem to keep to their lane and cause issues however, (it's not just Thickthorn, drivers cut across lanes rather than going the long (correct way) round." 

"As a whole, I think Thickthorn works fine for those people who know how to dictate their way 'around' a roundabout."

"When looking at the modern Highway Code, the very first line on the page says this:
"On approaching a roundabout take notice and act on all the information available to you, including traffic signs, traffic lights and lane markings which direct you into the correct lane." It is highly probable that many people have not looked at the Highway code since taking their test (or have an outdated version). Modern roads are different to how they were when many of us took our tests, and you can't simply assume left = left, right = right. People should take extra care as a result!


Neutral Comments (3 received)

"First of all, the roundabout is the responsibility of the Highways Agency, not the county highways department.   I used to work for the HA.   This roundabout has 10 entrances and exits so no circulation system is going to be straightforward.   Much thought goes into devising the best system but nothing can be perfect."

"I can't see any problems since the new markings have been put in if only the drivers would keep in the right lane which a lot of them don't. They still use the middle lane coming off to go to Hethersett. I try to avoid that way if I can as there are too many people trying to cut you up. It's always been a problem with coming off to go to Hethersett."

"I don't have a problem with the roundabout, but that's because I am used to it. People using it for the first are likely to find themselves in the wrong lane and become flustered either when exiting for Hethersett or for the A47 eastbound."