An experiment to redirect traffic flow out of Preston city centre is to be made permanent, almost 18 months after the idea was first trialled.
Lune Street was opened up to two-way traffic and an exit created from the side road onto the A59 Ringway shorty before Christmas 2017.
It was in response to the severe congestion which built up during the previous two festive shopping seasons, following the revamp of Fishergate and the creation of a shared space scheme in the city.
In 2015, one of the main bottlenecks occurred on Butler Street as traffic tried to exit the Fishergate Shopping Centre car park, with hour-long delays reported at times. There were also hold-ups for drivers leaving the St. George’s Shopping Centre car park on Lune Street itself.
Changes introduced the following year saw the introduction of a controversial bus lane on Fishergate between Mount Street and Corporation Street – but that meant drivers leaving St. George’s had to use Chapel Street and head on a two-mile detour to get out of the city centre, via Avenham.
Delays eventually eased after Lune Street was made two-way and redesigned to allow a direct route onto the A59 in November 2017.
An order to make the changes permanent was approved by Lancashire County Council’s cabinet. Member for highways, Keith Iddon, said the revamp had been a “great success”.
“It was done very quickly and very cheaply by our own staff who did a really good job,” he said.
Council leader Geoff Driver described the scheme as “a flash of the blindingly obvious”.
The meeting heard that an objection had been raised to the loss of a single disabled car parking space as a result of the change.
Papers presented to the cabinet meeting described the situation as “regrettable”, but added: “In addition to the retained on-street parking provision, there is also disabled provision in both the St George’s Street Shopping Centre car park and the dedicated disabled car park that is associated with the Mobility Centre.”