WORK has been completed on the first part of a multimillion-pound scheme to transform South Tyneside’s most well-known seaside street.
Ocean Road in South Shields is undergoing a facelift designed to make it more attractive to visitors.
A new road surface and paving, along with boulevard-style rows of hornbeam trees, are now in place at its Anderson Street end, close to the town centre.
In a further boost, a new car park on the site of the former John Wright Centre, in Flagg Court, offering free spaces to motorists, is now ready too.
The next phase of the Ocean Road revamp, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2015, will enhance the appearance of the street and its buildings, as well as improving the road layout, resurfacing and making pedestrian areas more accessible between Baring Street and Lawe Road.
The roundabout at the junction of Ocean Road and Anderson Street has now been replaced with a signal-controlled junction, with pedestrian crossing facilities.
Beacon and Bents councillor John Wood, said: “Ocean Road is a fantastic place to visit for a meal or a drink, and the council is making a major investment to build on its attractions and encourage more visitors.
“Now that the first phase is completed, it’s easy to see just how much this will improve the look and feel of the area.
“The John Wright Centre site is strategically placed, so it’s good to see it put to productive use again.
“We know that people value opportunities for free parking and this facility offers just that, within a short walk of the riverside, town centre and the seafront.”
Coun Jim Foreman, lead member for housing and transport, said: “This scheme will make the street more attractive, improve road safety and provide better parking facilities.
“We are doing everything we can to minimise the short-term disruption because the completed works will bring real benefits for businesses and residents alike.”
The work on Ocean Road has been taking place at the same time as major flood prevention works being carried out by Northumbrian Water, in the Ocean Road area and North Marine Park.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Ocean Road has flooded repeatedly in recent years, so a major flood-risk scheme and a multimillion-pound makeover will be a double boost for the area.”