There appears to be little sympathy for 800 drivers who were caught on camera ignoring new rules at a road junction in South Tyneside.
Council chiefs have banned drivers from leaving the Scotch Estate, South Shields, by using the Edinburgh Road/Newcastle Road junction following a major road scheme to improve traffic flow at the Lindisfarne Roundabout.
The gazette has learned that South Tyneside Council have the potential of raking in £48,000 in £60 fixed penalty fines after 800 motorists fell foul of a new traffic camera in just three weeks.
Since work on the project was completed, only busses can leave the Scotch Estate at the juction.
Local councillor Lee Hughes has branded the scheme “a disgrace” and says there are not enough signs warning drivers about the changes at the junction.
Readers have been quick to use The Gazette’s Facebook page to make their views known.
Warren Cooke wrote: “What a load of waffle. There simply isn’t a traffic problem in South Tyneside. The scheme was well thought out and well delivered. We should be grateful that our infrastructure is being upgraded.”
Nicky Lowdon added: “The amount of coverage this has had and the signs stating its a bus lane only exit is enough.
“If someone is stupid enough to get fined then it’s their problem.
Gem Long wrote: “It’s not the right solution but it’s been widely advertised and is well signposted.
“I think if people going to flout it, a penalty may be the only way to stop them continuing to do it.
“I don’t like the new system but people can’t just ignore it while others abide it.”
Others have taken the side of the drivers.
Josh Heslop wrote: “And people wonder why the council are hated - always looking for more money to take from the people for random rules that have no benefit to anyone apart form those taking the money.”
Aaron John Bird added: “A boost for the council at the cost of potentially a days wage from people who already pay to use those roads - roads which are already horrifically poorly managed. Liberty.
A spokeswoman for South Tyneside Council confirmed 800 drivers had been caught on camera.
She said: “Our absolute priority is road safety. The Edinburgh Road exit has been closed to vehicles except buses to enhance safety.
“The introduction of the bus gate has been widely publicised in local media, it is signed in accordance with the Traffic Sign Regulations and General Directions 2016 and additional temporary signs were installed for the first two weeks of the new system to further aid motorists.
“Ideally, we would not have to issue any fines. However, exiting via Edinburgh Road is both illegal and unsafe and we would encourage motorists to observe the restrictions to avoid receiving a penalty.”