HIGHWAYS bosses have made a U-turn over an unpopular right turn.
In 2009, Sunderland City Council imposed a temporary traffic order to stop drivers going right from Chester Road into Ormonde Street, at the junction near the Royal Hospital.
The plan had been met with widespread opposition, with 370 people signing a petition voicing concerns about how the changes would affect residents in the streets nearby.
“Local residents are delighted that the decision to rescind a no-right turn on Ormonde Street has been made,” said a spokesman for the Barnes, Pallion and Millfield Residents’ Association.
“This will take traffic out of the narrow side streets and allow a safe right turn at the traffic lights.
“Residents already suffer enough due to hospital staff and visitors parking in their streets.”
When the plan was initially announced, it was to be part of a wider scheme to improve the flow of traffic into the city centre along the often congested route.
But, at the time, residents were concerned that motorists wanting to get to Durham Road would clog up the surrounding residential streets.
Initially, it was expected the move would be reviewed after six months.
But now there are plans to add another lane for traffic leading to the Kayll Road junction, and alter the phasing of the traffic lights.
Barnes ward Councillor Tony Morrissey said: “I welcome this decision, while regretting that it has taken so long. It should have occurred well before now.
“A lot of time has been wasted trying to make a silk purse out of what many predicted and what quickly proved to be, a sow’s ear.
“I’m hoping people living in the area will be happy with the decision, although I’m sure they’re wishing they’d been listened to in the first place.
“I think there has been general pressure from many different sources to change the restriction as it just was not working.
“I do give credit to the officers who have reviewed the situation and accepted that it hasn’t worked, and have resolved to try something new.”
Coun James Blackburn, cabinet member for environment and attractive city, said: “The council has monitored the effects of the temporary orders and is intending to publish a permanent order.
“However, the council is not at this time seeking to prohibit the right turn from Chester Road to Ormonde Street, and will continue with further monitoring on the main road traffic flow.
“The order will be published for statutory consultation in the next few weeks.
“Meanwhile, comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or by ringing Network Management on 561 7969.”