Major changes to town centre
WORK to reduce a major town centre road from four lanes to two has started.
New white road restrictions have appeared on Borough Road, Middlesbrough, between Albert Road and Jedburgh Street.
The works - expected to last until the end of March - will see the four-lane road reduced to two near Teesside University’s Central Halls accommodation block, with the Puffin crossing near Gazette Buildings relocated to directly outside the Central Halls.
A dedicated lane for right-turning traffic is to be introduced at the junction of Borough Road and Woodlands Road, while the bus stop near the University’s Stephenson Building will be moved to accommodate the new layout.
Middlesbrough Council, which has developed the scheme with the university, said the new road layout will have a number of benefits, including the creation of a more “pedestrian friendly” environment through converting some of the road into footpath.
The authority also says that vehicle speeds will be reduced, while the rightturn lane at Woodlands Road will ease the movement of eastbound traffic along Borough Road.
But it hasn’t proved popular with everyone.
More than 100 exclusively negative comments were posted online about the plans.
Nicola Reilly called the plans “laughable”, adding: “All they need to do is stop cars parking on the side of the road, then both lanes can be accessible at all times. Many times I’ve had cars slamming brakes and cutting in front of me last minute!”
And Neil Hutchinson posted: “We want to become a city and attract investment, yet at every opportunity we pedestrianise or shrink the road network. Show me another city that cuts lanes into and out of the centre.”
The scheme has been developed in partnership with Teesside University, which is meeting part of the overall cost.
Work will continue until late March.
Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Council’s deputy mayor and the executive member for regeneration, said: “Middlesbrough’s road network is vital to the town’s viability as the commercial and cultural heart of the Tees Valley.
“That’s why we are constantly seeking to maintain and improve our roads, working closely with partners such as Teesside University who share our vision for the future of the town.
“While every effort will be made to reduce the impact of the works to a minimum, some disruption is inevitable given the nature of the scheme and the fact that Borough Road is busy throughout the day.
“I apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused by these important improvements, and I’m grateful to road users for their patience and understanding.”