£500,000 wasted on failed road closure

The decision to close the Gateshead flyover to traffic in July last year and then reopen it after a huge outcry from stranded drivers cost taxpayers nearly half a million pounds.

The figures were discovered by Liberal Democrat councillors following requests to Gateshead Council for information about the costs.

The northbound carriageway was closed to vehicles except for bikes but the knock-on effect was felt throughout central Gateshead when traffic ground to a halt.

Angry drivers bombarded the Council with demands that the flyover be reopened. The all-Labour cabinet decided to perform a u-turn and reopened the road.

The Liberal Democrats discovered that work on closing the road and then reopening it days later cost nearly £500,000.

“This is an appalling waste of money,” said Lib Dem Councillor Peter Maughan. “This scheme was a failure right from the start.

“£500,000 on an experiment to discourage drivers from travelling through Gateshead and over the Tyne Bridge was doomed to failure. I find it staggering that the Council Cabinet member responsible for environment and transport, Cllr John McElroy, ever agreed to this plan.”

Lib Dem Councillor for Low Fell, Daniel Duggan, who made multiple requests to the Council before they released the figures, said, “Far from cutting emissions from vehicles, which the closure was meant to address, this failed traffic management plan added to air pollution by trapping vehicles in a massive traffic jam.

“Councillor McElroy should consider his position and resign.”


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