New measures have been announced to try to tackle traffic chaos in the centre of Preston.
The Lancashire Evening Post has reported major delays for drivers getting out of the Fishergate Shopping Centre, with one mum fearing her disabled baby could have died after becoming stuck in a massive traffic jam.
Now Lancashire County Council has revealed new measures to try to cut the congestion around the Fishergate Centre and Butler Street junction.
From Thursday, “stop/go” traffic control signs, staffed by marshals, will be introduced at peak evening times, in a bid to help the flow of traffic.
A marshal will be in place at the junction of Butler Street and Fishergate, with another marshal at the junction of Fishergate and Corporation Street.
The accredited marshals will have the authority to direct traffic, and will require all vehicles leaving Butler Street to turn left.
If needed, a marshal with a sign could also be placed on Lune Street, at the junction with Fishergate.
Daniel Herbert, highway network manager for the county council, said: “These are temporary solutions which will help people to get around the city centre.
“The marshals should help traffic to move more freely at the busiest times. It’s a busy time of year, with large numbers of Christmas shoppers coming into the city centre.
“We’re sorry for the disruption that people have experienced and will continue to monitor the situation to see how the changes are working.
“Unfortunately, because of the large volume of traffic, there is little more we can do without having a knock-on effect on other roads, which may make the situation worse.
“Please consider alternative ways to get into the city centre, such as other car parks or public transport, which will reduce delays to your journey.
“This will help to spread the load across the local road network and help to keep the traffic moving for everyone.”
At the weekend Nicola Blackwell took her baby, Benjamin, who relies on an oxygen tank, into Preston and became stuck in major traffic leaving the Fishergate Centre.
She and her son had to be rescued by police, as he didn’t have enough oxygen to last in the long queue.
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “We welcome the introduction of traffic marshals around the city centre.
“Preston BID together with representatives from the retail sector have met with LCC and put forward a number of measures which businesses believe will improve traffic flow.
“We are confident that the situation will improve in the lead up to Christmas.
“We intend to meet again with the LCC early next week to monitor the situation.”
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