Residents and businesses are being asked to give their opinion on new Sunderland City Council plans for £4m city centre gateway.
The plans include introducing two-way traffic for all drivers approaching Wearmouth Bridge from the north and a two-way system for Dame Dorothy Street with a new junction for access from, and into North Bridge Street.
The council has already identified a budget of £4m for the project and if the plans go ahead following a consultation work could begin in 2017 and be completed before the Tall Ships event in 2018.
Public engagement is now beginning and comments can be made by feedback forms.
Councillor Michael Mordey, the City Council's Portfolio Holder for City Services, said: "The City Council is very much committed to further improving our city's road and wider transport network.
"Work on our new bridge is underway and we have further plans for the continuous dual carriageway from the A19 into the city centre. As well as improving journey times and our built environment, work on our infrastructure helps attract more private sector investment.
"We now want to hear what everyone thinks of these plans for North Bridge Street. There are online forms, or you can see more at the public displays. The proposals here, for the road network north of the Wearmouth Bridge, are about more a direct route into and out of the city centre."
Plans of the scheme will also be on display at Monkwearmouth Station Museum, Sunderland City Council Customer Service Centre on Fawcett Street and Bede’s Bakehouse at St Peter’s Church. Comment forms can also be returned via dedicated boxes at each of these locations during normal opening hours. The scheme plans will also be available to view at Tesco Extra on Roker Retail Park but please note that there will be no dedicated box at this location to return comment forms.
The scheme is part of the City Council's on-going commitment to improve and invest in Sunderland's road network. Work is currently underway on the £100m New Wear Crossing project - the new bridge between Castletown and Pallion - and further works are planned for the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC).
The remaining phases of the SSTC will improve links from the A19 to the Port of Sunderland and will open up further development opportunities on the south side of the River Wear.
More details on the North Bridge Street scheme can be seen at: www.sunderland.gov.uk/northbridgestreet
The proposals include:
* Two-way traffic to all vehicles on North Bridge Street (three lanes northbound, two lanes southbound)
* Two- way traffic to all vehicles on Dame Dorothy Street
* New signalised junction where Church Street North and Dame Dorothy Street meet.
* Improved access from Dundas Street onto North Bridge Street allowing left and right turns to all vehicles.
* New access into Howick Park from Dame Dorothy Street, replacing the current exit.
* Improvements to the layout of the Wheatsheaf junction.
* Removal of exit from Sheepfolds North onto North Bridge Street.
* Closure of subways under North Bridge Street and Dame Dorothy Street.
* Potential creation of a new bus layby on Southwick Road westbound.
Key Benefits include:
* A more direct route to the city centre
* Reduction of more than 60 per cent in travelling distance from the Wheatsheaf Junction to Wearmouth Bridge
* Reduction of more than 40 per cent in travelling distance from the Wearmouth Bridge to A183 towards Roker
* Reduced traffic using Roker Avenue and Church Street North
* Improved traffic flow through traffic signals at the Wheatsheaf Junction
* Minimal impact on public transport journeys
* Improved access for local residents and businesses onto North Bridge Street.