New warning signs installed at controversial ‘bus gate’ junction where drivers were hit with £800,000 in fines in just one year

New signs have been installed at a controversial South Tyneside road junction after a review of current road markings was ordered by the Government.

By Lisa Nightingale
Wednesday, 27 February, 2019, 05:00
Lee Hughes at the re-vamped junction

Thousands of drivers have been caught out since council chiefs put in the 20m-long ‘bus gate’ zone at Edinburgh Road on the Scotch Estate, Jarrow, 18-months ago, wracking up a staggering £789,000 in fines.

Lee Hughes at the new warning

Following a review of signage prompted by a Department of Transport recommendation, a new warning sign has been put in place 500 yards from the entrance of the bus gate.

Part of the bus lane has also been tarmaced in red.

The move has been welcomed by former Coun Lee Hughes who has campaigned for better signs at the site.

Hesays it is something which should have been done when the bus gate was first introduced.

The council maintain the previous signage complied with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016

Mr Hughes said: “If the previous signs were adequate why are they putting extra ones up?

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“Thumbs up for the council for eventually doing so, but this should have been done 18-months ago.

“They have painted the bus gate red and changed the road markings and put a sign up 500 yards before the bus gate to inform drivers, this should have been done from day one.”

The restriction was introduced to cut out ‘through traffic’ in the Scotch Estate and to deter vehicles from crossing three lanes of traffic on Leam lane.

However, where non-compliance levels remain high or the numbers do not appear to be reducing, the Department for Transport (DfT) recommend a review of the existing signage be undertaken.

Coun Nancy Maxwell, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: “Our absolute priority is road safety and the exit was closed to vehicles except buses to enhance safety.

“The signage and road markings in place have always complied with Department for Transport regulations and anyone exiting out of the bus gate is committing an offence.

“However, we are concerned by the number of drivers who continue to flout the restrictions and jeopardise their own safety and the safety of others.

“This is an extremely busy stretch of road and if motorists continue to exit via this route there is a real danger there will be an accident.

“We therefore decided to introduce extra signs and road markings to help reduce the number of vehicles using the bus gate and mitigate the safety risk.”