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Tyne Tunnels’ traffic lights plan stuck on red

The Tyne Tunnel.
The Tyne Tunnel.

Tyne Tunnel bosses have confirmed a recent traffic lights trial for South Tyneside motorists has proved a turn off and will not be adapted.

For two weeks in August, permanently placed though rarely used lights at the borough’s south side entrance were switched on full-time.

The measure aimed to check if a new and better traffic management system was possible to stem occasional hold-ups at Jarrow.

The test came in response to drivers who raised concerns about difficulties filtering onto the A19, the dual carriageway that leads under the river.

Tunnel chiefs had warned the lights could have become permanent if shown to improve journey times.

However, they have now studied the statistics and found no need to implement the scheme.

It has also become unnecessary due a new road filtering system introduced for drivers arriving at the tunnel from Jarrow.

The change opened up a short stretch of road for cars as well as lorries, reducing a troublesome bottleneck.

Chris Ward, customer operations manager, said: “We have assessed the impact of the trial and recognised the fact that the lights are not needed.

“Now that we have opened up both lanes on the access road from Jarrow to the tunnel, traffic on the roundabout above has reduced.

“We don’t envisage any further use of the lights at the entrance.”

The lights trial ended on Monday, August 27.

The original single lane Tyne Tunnel was opened by the Queen in 1967.

The £260m second Tyne Tunnel, which opened in November 2011, is used by around 50,000 vehicles a day.