Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drastic Choices for Gridlocked Drivers; City Considers Congestion-Busting Options

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drastic Choices for Gridlocked Drivers; City Considers Congestion-Busting Options

Article excerpt

Byline: By Adrian Pearson

MOTORISTS across Tyne and Wear will soon have to decide if they are prepared to accept radical congestion-busting transport solutions.

Pay-as-you-go road charging and closing some junctions along the A1 are just some of the options being worked through as transport chiefs prepare for a public consultation period.

Tyne and Wear councils and passenger group Nexus carried out a detailed study into congestion along such hotspots as the Tyne Bridge and the A1 Western Bypass as part of a Government funded Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) project.

A TIF scheme in Manchester recently led to the council asking for money to set up a city congestion charging zone, something North-East politicians are quick to rule out.

The man behind the study, Richard Hibbert, said that by early next year they wanted to have a definite plan for reducing congestion.

"There are two options open to us. To either increase road capacity or reduce the demand for the road.

"By increased capacity we could look at widening roads, and by reducing demand we could look at road pricing.

"If you consider the A1, and we could look at any busy road, but here we have a road that is very easy to get on to and off and that works both as a positive and a negative.

"If you compare this to Manchester and the M60, their bypass, it is very hard to access with junctions much further apart.

"Now on the A1 the reason why we have such demand is that it is so easy to make a short journey along it.

"It is possible to get on at Dunston and leave just down the road at the MetroCentre.

"We are seeing journeys of just a few hundred metres that add to the overall congestion. And it might not be the best use of a bypass.

"So maybe we will have to close some junctions, meaning we will see more traffic on local roads. …

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