Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chaos Looms for Rush Hour Drivers

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chaos Looms for Rush Hour Drivers

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bryn Littleton

Commuters driving into Newcastle face major delays today as roadworks are carried out on three river crossings.

The Tyne and Swing Bridges have been worked on for the past few weeks, but this morning maintenance work also starts on the busy Redheugh Bridge, threatening 40-minute delays.

Nick Horn, of the Federation of Small Businesses, last night attacked Newcastle and Gateshead Councils, saying a "lack of cohesion" between the two authorities could hit firms in the city if deliveries and staff are held up.

And George Cowcher, chief executive of the North-East Chamber of Commerce, said: "This seems crazy and clearly there is work that needs to be done to ensure work like this can be staggered."

But council traffic chiefs said the works were deliberately timed to coincide with the start of the school summer holidays.

In February, thousands of motorists were delayed in February when work was being carried out on both sides of the Tyne Bridge.

Mr Horn said: "It is not just a problem which prevents trade coming into the city, it's also delays for staff, deliveries, taxi drivers and basically traders do not have a chance.

"There is a total lack of cohesion and planning between Newcastle and Gateshead Councils and the rush hour will be much longer than usual."

Safety fences and improvements to lighting are set to be carried out by Gateshead Council engineers on the Consett Route/Askew Road routes up to the Redheugh Bridge from this morning, reducing the routes to one lane.

A spokesman for AA Roadwatch said traffic jams on the major bridges could lead to congestion on the High Level Bridge and surrounding routes.

He said: "If traffic does start to build up due to work on the bridges during rush hours the delays could be anything between five and 40 minutes. …

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