Sunderland councillor hits out at traffic decisions

Councillor Colin Wakefield at Houghton Cut, where he is concerned about traffic

Councillor Colin Wakefield at Houghton Cut, where he is concerned about traffic

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NEW ‘go slower’ signs on one of Wearside’s busiest roads have left a councillor “puzzled”.

Signs urging drivers to reduce their speed to 40mph have been installed on the west-bound side of the A690 at Houghton Cut.

40mph signs on the A690 westbound at Houghton Cut.

40mph signs on the A690 westbound at Houghton Cut.

But independent councillor Colin Wakefield, who represents Copt Hill ward, says that council bosses should have targeted new measures at nearby Stoneygate, on the same road, as a priority.

Coun Wakefield said: “I’m really a bit puzzled at the timing of this.

“I don’t quite understand why they have done it at this late stage.

“The terrible accident record was a number of years ago, but the reduction to 50mph seemed to improve that.

“From my point of view, the most important thing on the A690 is the Stoneygate junction.”

Coun Wakefield said that officers should be looking at implementing changes at the junction.

“I’ve asked can we have traffic lights put on there but there,” he said.

“There is a huge problem with drivers crossing the road.

“It’s the most important issue on the A690 for me.

“I can’t think of a junction which requires more attention than that one. It’s a bad junction.

“It needs either traffic lights or a roundabout.”

Coun James Blackburn, the cabinet member at Sunderland City Council responsible for making the city more inclusive, said of the decision to implement the new 40mph signs: “Driver speeds on this stretch of the road are not always in line with the conditions, especially when the road is wet.

“For the week beginning Monday May 2, staff from the council were on-site to position three 40mph advisory speed limit signs with our contractor Aurora.

“The wearing course, or top section of this stretch of the A690, has also been replaced to increase tyre grip and friction.”

Speaking about the Stoneygate issue, Coun Blackburn added: “On the A690 Stoneygate junction, the City Council completed a road safety remedial scheme in 2009.

“This was in response to the casualty history over the three preceding years (a total of 12 injury accidents, including two classed as serious).

“The scheme included the reduction of the speed limit to 50mph, revised road markings and traffic signing to highlight the position of the junction to approaching vehicles.

“A review of current accident data is now showing a declining trend in accidents at this junction with one serious and five slight accidents in the three years since 2009.

“The city council continues to monitor the situation here and across the city.”

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