Town drivers get the hump

MP Grahame Morris with Seaham taxi drivers Mel Malloy and Graham Parks examining the new speed cushions on North Terrace.
MP Grahame Morris with Seaham taxi drivers Mel Malloy and Graham Parks examining the new speed cushions on North Terrace.
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HUNDREDS of angry drivers have called for highways chiefs to remove new seafront speed humps.

Motorists who use North Road and North Terrace, in Seaham, are furious with the £80,000 traffic calming project, complaining of damaged cars and whiplash injuries.

More than 370 people have signed up to a Facebook page called Remove the Speed Humps From Seaham Harbour, with more than a dozen written complaints put in to Durham County Council.

The route has been branded the “craziest road on the planet”, with complaints including cars being damaged, taxi passengers suffering whiplash and residents disturbed by the sound of vehicles passing over the eight sets of humps.

The scheme, which aimed to give tourists a warmer welcome and a good impression of the area, replaced previous chicanes that had caused congestion.

But campaigners say the rubber humps have achieved the opposite, with most cars only able to travel at 10mph over the cushions.

Business say they have “closed the place off” and drivers have admitted using East Shore Village as a rat-run to avoid the route.

Seaham Town Council – which contributed towards the cost of the humps, with the remainder met by the county council and Durham Heritage Coast – has now taken up the issue and has called for a site meeting with highways officers.

It says the main points of concern are that there are too many speed cushions and those put in are too high.

Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, has also contacted the department after contact from constituents.

Some say there is no need for traffic calming, while others believe the chicanes should have been replaced with raised crossings, just like the new one put outside the Harbour View pub as part of the plans.

John Calvert, of Calverts electrical store in Church Street, has given it its “crazy” title, and said: “What other main road into a town has traffic calming and it’s a seafront?

“We didn’t need it in the first place. We’re trying to invite people into the town; instead, we’ve closed the place off. It doesn’t slow traffic, it stops it.

“Sunderland’s seafront is much busier and they wouldn’t think of doing something like this.”

Mel Malloy, who runs Harbour Taxis, said: “It’s just a no-go area that seafront and it’s not just taxi drivers.

“I’ve done a million miles in my time as a taxi driver and I’ve never come across anything like it anywhere.”

Stephanie Callaghan, from Ryhope, visits her mother in the town and is among those to write to the town council to complain.

She said: “They’ve done all this work to regenerate Seaham and it’s a beautiful seafront.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if accidents go up sharply.”

@EchoEastDurham

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