Road rage: Anger over poor turn out for driver survey which caused traffic hell

Traffic chaos around Sunderland City Centre caused by a traffic census.
Traffic chaos around Sunderland City Centre caused by a traffic census.
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The news that just 14% of motorists responded to a traffic survey which caused rush-hour misery in Sunderland has created fury among Echo readers.

Tens of thousands of drivers were hit by severe delays during the survey, which was carried out on September 23, leaving Sunderland City Council to apologise to angry motorists.

The council conducted the survey – the first of its scale in the city – to help gather information for plans to improve the city’s road network with a £45m dual-carriageway from the A19 to the Port of Sunderland.

However, after distributing 38,589 cards, the authority confirmed it received just 5,635 responses.

The survey was held at five strategic points in the city’s road network, as part of Government-funding requirements towards the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor Phase 3 – a dual-carriageway link between the A19 and the Port of Sunderland.

Conservative leader on the council, Councillor Peter Wood, said: “You have to ask the question ‘was it worth it?’ I understand that it would help to find out more information about people’s journeys, but then when you see only 14% replied you have to wonder if there wasn’t a better way.”

Despite the response rate, the council said it was in line with expectations and thanked those who took part in the exercise.

Councillor Michael Mordey, the city council’s portfolio holder for city services, said: “Thanks to everyone who took the time and trouble to reply. The council does appreciate it and it is part of this bigger project that can benefit us all in the long-term.”

Survey an ‘absolute joke’

Taking to the Echo’s Facebook page, dozens of readers expressed anger at the census being carried out in the first place.

Dave Walton Lokey wrote: “It took me about an hour to get to work on a normal 10 to 15-minute drive.”

While Heather Fagan said: “They would have had better success if they had wandered the car parks and surveyed people or stuck them under windscreen wipers.

“Also, wouldn’t have inconvenienced all those people. Absolute joke.”

Sarah Constable explained what she did with her card: “I refused to send it back!”

Colin Scott argued: “With all the cameras around and the technology we have today, is there any need to create so much traffic chaos especially at peak times?”

Dave Ridley wrote: “So, a complete waste of everyone’s time then.

“Fair enough it was a compulsory survey, but they need to find a better way because blocking both bridges at peak times ain’t the one, that’s for certain.”