Work set to start to improve safety on South Shields road after near fatal accident

Safety campaigner Michelle Walters with residents who want road safety improved on Wenlock Road
Safety campaigner Michelle Walters with residents who want road safety improved on Wenlock Road

Work is finally set to begin to improve safety on a South Tyneside road - 15 months after a pensioner almost lost his life.

People living in Simonside made renewed calls to consolidate two zebra crossings near Simonside Metro Station after an elderly couple were left seriously injured in December 2015.

This should have happened six years ago

Michelle Walters

Concerns over the safety of the road layout had first been raised to the council by residents and the West Shields policing team in 2010 with repeated calls for action.

Following the near tragedy, residents formed a campaign group and launched a petition which was handed in to the Riverside Community Area Forum last February.

The road’s two crossings have been a contentious issue for people living in the area since they were installed, as they feared they would one day lead to a tragedy.

Now, work to remove the existing zebra crossings to be replaced by a new puffin crossing is set to get underway before the end of the financial year - 15-months on from the near fatal accident and six years after road safety concerns were first raised.

Petitioner Michelle Walters said: “This should have happened six years ago when it was first raised.

“I’m happy it is going ahead, but I thought it would have been done by now.”

The first phase of the scheme will see the removal of the existing zebra crossings to be replaced by a new puffin crossing on the bridge near the Simonside metro station.

A 20mph speed limit is set to be introduced, along with traffic calming measures, vehicle activated signs, repeater signs and improved road markings. The second phase of the scheme will see full width road humps between the junction of Dame Flora Robson Avenue and the Newcastle Road junction being installed.

Letters have been sent to those likely to be affected by the works and the scheme is still open for consultation. Anyone wishing to share their views on the scheme can send comments to: trafficandroadsafety@southtyneside.gov.uk

Coun Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Keeping people safe on our roads is a core priority for the council. This has been a particularly complex scheme because of the location of the bridge. I am delighted we will soon see work start on these safety measures.”

*No action was taken against the driver following the accident.