SCOOT P3The next phase of a major scheme to improve journey times on the main route through Durham City starts this weekend and people are being reminded that, with a range of exciting events coming up, the city is very much still open for business.

Durham County Council is currently installing the £2.5 million SCOOT system which will see traffic lights placed on Leazes Bowl roundabout – following those recently installed on Gilesgate roundabout – resulting in easier journeys in the future. Improvements to both pedestrian and cycling facilities as well as changes to the layout of the roundabouts are also being carried out during the work.

Gilesgate works have now been completed, with the exception of some short-term resurfacing work later in the year. The traffic lights are now working but have been optimised to help people travelling through the ongoing improvements on Leazes Bowl roundabout meaning traffic is temporarily slower for those heading into Durham from the A690.

Improvements to Leazes Bowl are progressing on schedule and due to move onto the next phase on Saturday, 2 July. One lane will remain closed heading up towards Gilesgate roundabout with traffic in both directions now using a different lane to those previously closed. All lanes over Milburngate Bridge will remain open.

There will also be two closures of the Walkergate area on Sunday, 10 July and Sunday, 17 July. These will be from the junction of Leazes Road, past the junction of Fowlers Yard and the rear of the market place down to Freeman’s Quay between 7am and 7pm on both days. Access to the area behind the market place will be maintained under temporary signals.

With plenty of events to enjoy in Durham City across the summer including the Durham City Run, BRASS festival, Durham Miners Gala and the Durham Remembers programme, people are being urged not to be put off by the works but asked to leave extra time for journeys and consider using the council’s park and ride service.

Cllr Neil Foster, Cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “We’re extremely grateful to everyone for their continued patience while we carry out these vital improvements. Once completed they promise easier journeys for both those travelling through and coming to visit Durham City and we’re happy to confirm that we’re still on schedule for this to happen by the end of September.

“With a summer packed full of brilliant events across the city we’re encouraging everyone to not be put off by the improvements being carried out. We’re continuing to closely monitor the effect the works are having so we’re aware that, generally speaking, there’s only minor disruption outside of the rush hour periods. So it’s very much business as usual across the city.”

People can see full details at www.durham.gov.uk/LeazesBowl which includes changes to bus services, links to traffic cameras that people can check before setting off and tips to avoid delays. Motorists are also advised to keep up to date with the latest on social media using #LeazesBowl.

Once installed, the new traffic lights will be coordinated with those already in place on the Milburngate roundabout to better manage the flow of vehicles through the city. This will mean much more predictable travel through Durham City at peak times making journeys easier for motorists and helping bus operators to plan services.

It will also enable the council to more effectively deal with the impacts of incidents and planned events on the road network. The council hopes to start using the SCOOT system in 2017.

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