Protesters have mocked a council’s £1.7m plan to encourage drivers to turn left at a busy junction.

It was the latest protest against Middlesbrough Council’s controversial proposals to help ease rush hour traffic heading into Middlesbrough along Marton Road – a problem known locally as the “Marton Crawl”.

Under the plans, the section of Dixons Bank south of the Southern Cross junction would be widened to allow northbound traffic to turn left and take an alternative route into town along Stainton Way.

But on Monday morning, demonstrators gathered at the Dixons Bank junction in Nunthorpe to mock the plans.

The protesters from campaign group, Our Green Ways, brandished signs daubed with slogans such as “£1.7m to get you to turn left” and pleas for drivers to “honk support”.

A petition by Our Green Ways demanding development in south Middlesbrough be halted until a “wider consultation” is carried out has gathered more than 2,000 signatures.

Sign held by demonstrators at Dixons Bank during a protest of Our Green Ways campaign group
Sign held by demonstrators at Dixons Bank during a protest of Our Green Ways campaign group (Image: Handout)

Wade Tovey, chairman of Our Green Ways, said on Monday morning around one in eight vehicles had taken the Stainton Way route, despite it being clear.

“We don’t believe that spending £1.7m on widening Dixons Bank, to encourage traffic to turn left will work,” he said.

“Traffic can turn left now, but travelling into to Middlesbrough to avoid the Marton crawl will result in commuters and businesses having to travel around an extra five miles a day each way.

“We strongly believe that a wider plan is needed.

“For example, a proper park and ride with a good service and reasonable fares would provide an attractive alternative for significant numbers of people and £1.7m would be better spent on such a scheme.

“Our campaign petition now has over 2,000 signatures and we will present it at the October 17 council meeting.

“The council is showing no signs of changing its mind so far though.”

In response

Cllr Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for economic development and infrastructure, said: “Last year I and officers of Middlesbrough Council announced a range of measures to improve traffic flow across the town, including a number that would particularly benefit travellers in south Middlesbrough.

“This wide-ranging strategy involves link roads, junction improvements, a through-about on the A66 and working with our neighbours in Redcar and Cleveland to look at the possibility of a park and ride scheme situated in the Redcar side of Nunthorpe.

“We have always said that the Dixons Bank scheme is an important part of the wider improvement works and will include road widening, upgraded traffic signalling, noise reducing resurfacing works, and improved drainage and street lighting.

“Currently traffic wanting to turn left off Dixons Bank onto Stainton Way can do so smoothly and quickly once it is in the left turning lane.

“The issue is that the left turning lane is so short that a large volume of traffic wanting to turn left has to wait behind traffic going straight ahead before it can get in the correct lane.

Protesters mock the plans to improve traffic flow at Dixons Bank
Protesters mock the plans to improve traffic flow at Dixons Bank (Image: Handout)

“A road and junction-widening scheme based on the same principle has recently been installed on Hall Drive at the junction with Acklam Road with the support of residents, and all indications are that it is helping the traffic flow as was intended.”

On July 10, the council’s Executive approved the £1.7m plans as part of a wider scheme to ease traffic flow across the town.

But the decision proved controversial, with Nunthorpe Parish Council’s Ken Tomlinson saying it had been made in the face of “overwhelming local opposition”.

On August 2, opposition councillors tried to have the decision sent back to the Executive, but were ultimately unsuccessful.

The Our Green Ways petition opposing the plans will be presented to councillors at the meeting of the full Middlesbrough Council on Wednesday.

© 2018 Tees Info

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