A bungling council has opened a new multi-million pound bus lane – only to admit it cannot be used because drivers need special training to negotiate a narrow corner.
Norfolk County Council officially opened a brand-new £1.5m bus route in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, on March 14.
But bus drivers have been unable to use the route because they cannot safely fit their vehicles through a tight bend in the road.
The narrow section is located next to Whitefriars Primary School, King’s Lynn, where teachers believe it is not safe for 302 pupils to cross the new road.
Norfolk Green Buses, which operates the service, has admitted that all of its drivers will need ”specialist training” before they can use the bus lane.
The failed project has been branded a ”farce” and ”ludicrous” by stunned townsfolk and outraged taxpayers.
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council revealed yesterday that only single-decker buses can currently negotiate the ”pinch-point”.
Quentin Brogdale, project engineer, said: ”We had expected the area to be tight for buses however, now that they have started to test the route, we have discovered that they are having particular difficulty negotiating the narrow point and some are scraping the kerb.
”This means that we had to delay the opening of the route while we worked with the bus company to find a solution.”
Ben Colson, managing director of Norfolk Green buses, added: ”We have got to do staff training on it and we are short on staff at the moment because of sickness.
”Fundamentally we haven’t had the resource to be able to do the training.”
The new route, which connects Wisbech Road to Boal Street in King’s Lynn, was built to reduce congestion on the nearby London Road and improve air quality.
It was officially opened on March 14 by West Norfolk Mayor Zipha Christopher.
Cyclist Brian Lake, 63, watched a driver cautiously negotiate the narrow section of the road and said the bus had to travel so slowly it almost stopped.
He said: ”It’s a farce. It took a driver and someone standing in the footwell to see the driver through the pinch point on the trial run.
”There are tyre marks on the kerb where it has squeezed through.”
The new route narrows near to Whitefriars Primary School and the tight section is where many children must cross to reach school.
Headteacher Lee Stevens said: ”It’s ludicrous. That’s the busiest point in terms of pedestrian crossings. It’s not fit for purpose.”
The bus route is part of a £5.3m government community infrastructure fund.
It is aimed at cutting congestion and improving the environment.
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