TRAFFIC: Misery for commuters

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In Stephen King’s novel Under the Dome, the residents of a fictional town try to cope with life when a massive, indestructible dome cuts them off from the rest of the world.

To a slightly lesser extent, this is what living in North Tyneside is starting to feel like, thanks to the combined efforts of the Highways Agency and our local authorities, who appear to have either colluded, or not even talked to each other, to grind the road traffic network of a large swathe of Tyneside to an absolute halt.

First, we have the new roundabout on the Coast Road and the network of 30mph speed cameras, with a quite inexplicable 30mph limit and speed cameras even for drivers coming north up the A19, in the opposite direction away from the works, nearly two miles away.

This is going to entail a year of absolute traffic misery for anyone from south east Northumberland or Whitley Bay driving south. What benefit this will provide long-term is a mystery.

Surely it will only mean that the traffic build up points are distributed further on, at the Tyne Tunnel or on the Coast Road, which though it’s already bad for anyone commuting, will only get worse. But hey ho, someone else’s problem seems to be the approach.

The Coast Road heading towards the coast has now become a dreaded snarl up of queuing traffic late into the night, while potential routes to avoid this, like the Howdon Bypass, are also closed off, with one lane of traffic closed due to work on Waterville Road. Anyone considering Sandy Lane to get to the A1 will find that their route is also blocked with major works, traffic lights and long delays.

Now we find out that the Holystone roundabout – busy at times, but manageable – is also marked for “year-long improvements”, with the predictable warning of delays to drivers.

Questions need asking of the authorities as to how they can create such an utter nightmare on every potential route used by commuters in North Tyneside at exactly the same time, causing utter disruption for hundreds of thousands of people.

It is even worse for people travelling north through the tunnel, with daily queues going back miles, like those caused by a major incident. I am really surprised people are managing to keep their jobs – there must be some very understanding employers on Tyneside.

We frequently hear about the north-south divide. So well done traffic authorities, in a short space of time you’ve managed to turn Tyneside into the M25.

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