Gateshead council cancels bus lane fines during weekend gridlock

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Aerial shot of the Tyne Bridge with Gateshead Quays in the backgroundImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Gateshead Council introduced changes to road layouts approaching the Tyne Bridge in 2020

Drivers who used a town centre bus lane during traffic gridlock will not be fined, civic chiefs have confirmed.

Gateshead Council said fines would be cancelled for use of the road on the eastern section of Askew Road, between 17 and 19 September.

It comes after an urgent investigation began into the chaos after congestion was "on a scale not seen" previously.

Many motorists blamed restrictions and changes to road layouts near the Tyne Bridge introduced in 2020.

Drivers became gridlocked last Friday and Saturday with some stuck for more than two hours, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

One person who was caught up in the congestion for 45 minutes said "road rage was at an all-time high."

'Goodwill gesture'

The Labour-led council said it acknowledged the "anxiety and inconvenience caused by lengthy delays".

"As we have indicated previously, the congestion seen this weekend was exceptional and the council is seeking to identify all the reasons why this happened and minimise the risk of it happening again."

It said the cancelling of penalty charge notices for using the bus lane was "a goodwill gesture recognising the exceptionally difficult conditions experienced this weekend".

"It is already clear that increased traffic driven by people attending events across Tyneside, coinciding with vehicle breakdowns and scheduled bridge maintenance, put extra pressure on our busy town centre road network," it continued.

"We will be reviewing how we manage the town centre network and signage, to try to keep traffic moving and minimise delays."

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