Traffic lights to be reviewed after snarl-ups

TAILBACKS ... the new traffic lights at Ocean Road.
TAILBACKS ... the new traffic lights at Ocean Road.

COUNCIL bosses have announced a review of controversial traffic lights which angry motorists have blamed for causing major delays in South Shields town centre.

More than 500 residents have signed a petition calling for the reinstatement of a roundabout between Ocean Road and Anderson Street, after it was replaced with a traffic lights junction on April 7.

Some drivers say the lights have led to long tailbacks – with as many as 100 cars stuck in queues waiting for them to change.

Now Town Hall bosses have decided to re-evaluate the scheme after listening to public concerns and monitoring traffic flow in the location since the Bank Holiday weekend.

A temporary solution to the problem is expected to be announced within weeks - with “all options” on the table.

A council official said the scheme was initially put in place to provide a safer pedestrian crossing but will review the situation after listening to councillors who have raised concerns expressed by residents, visitors and motorists over the last two weeks.

A spokesperson said “In many ways we have been a victim of our own success with high level visitor figures.

“Over the last two bank holidays we have seen a surge in visitors coming to experience our beautiful coastline.

“This, compounded with the ongoing works at North Marine Park has resulted in lengthy queues in the town.

“So we have decided to act now. We are re–evaluating the scheme so that we can get the best out of this busy junction for both motorists and pedestrians. We will confirm shortly exactly what that solution will be.”

Drivers have flooded the Gazette website with complaints over the traffic lights and an online petition has also seen plenty of web traffic.

The petition – set up on the website by South Shields resident Jack Pearce – called on South Tyneside Council to reinstate the roundabout by the summer.

Robert Hullah, 83, of Bamburgh Grove, South Shields, was one of the motorists to sign up.

He welcomed the council re-think and expressed hope that “common sense will now prevail”.

Mr Hullah said: “I didn’t see a problem with the roundabout in the first place. They should have just left it was it was.

“Now there is traffic waiting when there is nothing coming the other way. If they are listening the council should re-instate the roundabout.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul