Drivers’ traffic headache over roundabout delays

Whitemare Pool
Whitemare Pool

Frustrated drivers say they are grinding to a halt on a busy South Tyneside roundabout during rush hour.

Commuters using the White Mare Pool Roundabout on the A194 say they are facing delays of up to 30 minutes when trying to enter the borough in the morning.

Whitemare Pool

Whitemare Pool

The problem is also repeated at teatime, with cars backed up to the Washington/Springwell roundabout.

Mark Douglas, who works in Hebburn, says the roundabout has been “total chaos” since the half term holidays last week.

He believes the traffic lights northbound, for those travelling to South Shields, have been changed.

Mr Douglas said: “The traffic light system was changed for South Shields-bound traffic last week during the holidays when the roads are usually quieter.

This week has been total chaos.

Mark Douglas

“I did notice longer queuing times last week, but this week has been total chaos.

“I travel to Hebburn at 7am and usually get past White Mare Pool Roundabout with minimal delay.”

He added: “The last two mornings I have queued between eight and 10 minutes, which is probably acceptable, but I have staff starting between 8.30am and 9am and they have queued for about 30 minutes.

“And judging by the queues at 6pm, it’s certainly affecting the residents of South Tyneside who are commuting home.”

Whitemare Pool

Whitemare Pool

The Highways Agency, which is responsible for managing the roundabout, says is investigating the matter.

A spokeswoman added: “We are looking into this matter now that it has been brought to our attention.”

Gridlock earlier this year due to traffic light tailbacks

It’s not the first time in recent weeks that motorists have been driven round the bend by busy roundabouts.

Traffic backing up the John Reid Road from the roundabout at Simonside.

Traffic backing up the John Reid Road from the roundabout at Simonside.

In September the Gazette reported how drivers were being held up in long delays at the roundabout at the top of John Reid Road and Newcastle Road in South Shields.

Frustrated motorists were forced to sit in gridlock – unable to turn left from the John Reid Road onto the A194 Leam Lane because of tailbacks from traffic which has been unable to clear lights at the Lindisfarne Roundabout.

Some drivers had also taken to using the Scotch Estate as a rat run in a bid to beat some of the standing traffic.

Council bosses said that changes had been made to the traffic signals and the situation was being monitored by Urban Traffic Management Control officials.

Improvement works will also be carried out in the future.

Coun Allan West, lead member for housing and transport, said: “Last year the council communicated that improvements to the Lindisfarne Roundabout and John Reid Road were in the pipeline. Since then, officers have been working on a business case to bring this work forward.

“The proposals are aimed at reducing accidents, easing congestion and improving traffic flows, and will include drainage works to reduce the likelihood of flooding.

“Work is ongoing and it is anticipated that plans will go out for public consultation later this year. Following consultation and the securing of the necessary funding, work would be expected to start next spring.”