The journey times have been slashed since the improvements to Cowgate junction were completed earlier this year.
During peak morning periods, journey times from the A1 to Stamfordham Road have dropped to 175 seconds, saving drivers 3 minutes 45 seconds. And drivers are saving just under 3 minutes from the A1 to Cowgate through Ponteland Road.
Cllr Bell, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development said: “Cowgate junction is a key route into the city and is used heavily each day. The former roundabout was heavily congested and a real collision hotspot, with many people living in the area feeling unsafe using the old pedestrian subways.
“When we initially consulted with the public, there was some resistance to replacing the old roundabout into a new junction operated by lights, but we knew the old roundabout wasn’t coping with the high levels of demand placed on it, as well as the potential for housing growth in this area of the city.
“We knew that we could make this junction better and more reliable by introducing intelligent traffic signals to manage traffic flow, and the stats prove this, making the daily commute a much better experience for everyone. Securing funding from the Department of Transport helped make these improvements possible by making it safer for people on foot, on bikes, on public transport and in cars.”
Cowgate junction is used by 60,000 motorists daily, as well as being a major route for public transport – with almost 70 buses passing through the junction every hour during the day. The old road layout created congestion and delays, as it is difficult to manage congestion on a roundabout at peak periods, as priority is always given to the right, which can lead to queuing traffic on some approaches more than on others, adding to journey times.
In turning the old roundabout, with its unpopular pedestrian subways, into a signalised junction with bus and cycle lanes and street level crossings, around 2,000 massive polystyrene blocks were used to infill the basin on the old roundabout and subways.
New intelligent traffic lights were installed which detect traffic levels and adapt intelligently to timings to smooth traffic flow through the junction, reducing congestion and queuing traffic. Over time, the council say that the lights will build up more intelligence, and improve journey times further.
Cllr Bell added: “We’ve had a good response from the public on the improvements, as wasting time stuck in traffic isn’t good for business, for people, or for the environment. We now need to connect the junctions in the key corridor which runs across the city from Cowgate to Gosforth in the north of the city, which includes problem junctions Haddricks Mill and Blue House roundabouts, which we’re currently out to consultation on, and it’s really important that everyone has their say on these.”
The improvements to Cowgate junction were part of the council’s Re-newcastle £60m of investment into the city’s highways and infrastructure.
The first stage of a public consultation on a greater than £20m package of improvements to Haddricks Mill and Blue House roundabout runs until 21 August. People can have their say at www.newcastle.gov.uk/roads
Media contact: Ann Bridges – Senior Specialist: Comms & Policy – 0191 277 7414 – firstname.lastname@example.org