Safer return to school as crossing opens after five-year safety campaign
- Credit: Simon Parkin
The first day back at school proved to be much safer for children after the opening of a pedestrian crossing following a five year campaign in Old Buckenham.
The completion of the new crossing with on demand traffic lights was timed to coincide with the start of the new school academic year.
It follows a long campaign to improve the safety for school children and pedestrians wanting to cross the B1077, a busy road through the village used by traffic travelling between Diss and Attleborough.
Many families have to get over the road on their way to Old Buckenham Primary and High School but previously there was no dedicated crossing.
The opening of the new Chapel Green School, for pupils with complex learning needs, had exacerbated the problem.
Norfolk County Council gave the go-ahead to the £128,340 project on the edge of Norfolk's biggest village green following a long-running campaign involving the parish council, local councillors and the Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman.
Old Buckenham county and district councillor Steve Askew said: "We are delighted because as a village Old Buckenham is pretty unique because it has four schools on the same road and it hasn't had any crossing facilities since the lollipop lady retired two or three years ago.
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"With ever increasing traffic on this road it was of paramount importance that something was done. I had heard horror stories about youngsters who were taking their lives in their hands crossing."
Martin Wilby, county council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said: "For different reasons it has taken time, obviously we needed to find the funding but also it is quite a sensitive area here next to the historic village green. There had been some concerns about the lights and lighting especially at night, but I think we have overcome that."
Rachel Noyes, who was walking her six-year-old daughter Keira home from school, said the crossing was a huge improvement already.
She said: "This is a nasty junction to cross. We previously had some interesting moments let's put it that way. This is definitely going to make it much easier and safer to get across especially at the peak at the start and end of school hours."
Mr Freeman said: "The busy B1077 has been an increasingly dangerous challenge for pedestrians, and particularly schoolchildren, for far too long — and that is why this crossing is such welcome news. It will provide a welcome boost to road safety in the village."