A councillor has slammed alleged poor signage at a new £7.5million road scheme in South Tyneside.
Lee Hughes hit out at what he says is a lack of clarity for motorists who are now banned from leaving the Scotch Estate at the junction of Edinburgh Road and the A194 Newcastle Road
He says the junction - which cars can now only use to enter the estate - is being monitored by cameras but not clearly signposted.
He claims one elderly lady driver drove part way into the zone before realising that cars are now banned and - recognising her mistake - reversed back into and out of the bus-only lane to take an alternative exit out of the estate.
Coun Hughes, who represents the Putting People First party on the Bede ward, said she is now fearful of receiving a £60 penalty charge for the error.
He said: “The only permanent sign warning drivers is about 100m from the exit on Edinburgh Road, at the junction of Glasgow Road.
“It is not easily seen and is long way from the bus-only lane. It is easily missed and not very helpful to motorists.”
The Gazette revealed last week that residents in streets near the bus-only lane are concerned that roads have become rat runs by drivers seeking an alternative route from the estate.
The end 20m section of Edinburgh Road, which leads onto the A194, is now monitored by CCTV, with £60 fines in operation to keep drivers in check.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “The Edinburgh Road exit has been closed to vehicles except buses to enhance safety.
“There is a history of accidents at this location and due to the carriageway being widened from two to three lanes it is no longer deemed safe for cars to exit at this point.
“The bus gate located on Edinburgh Road is signed in accordance with the Traffic Sign Regulations and General Directions 2016, with an advance direction sign and regulatory signs at the start of the gate, as well as ‘bus gate’ text road markings and a continuous longitudinal line road marking.
“Vehicles that are approaching the bus gate on Edinburgh Road are met with a map type advanced direction sign which is located in the verge just after Glasgow Road and in advance of Stirling Avenue, indicating that buses only should continue on Edinburgh Road.
“Vehicles exiting Stirling Avenue are met with a ‘no right turn except buses’ sign. In addition, temporary signs were installed for the first two weeks of the new system to further aid motorists.”