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Lendal Bridge closure working well, claim council chiefs
CITY leaders have today claimed the controversial Lendal Bridge trial has worked well and led to less traffic on some major York roads in the month since it was introduced.
New restrictions which prevent cars, motorbikes, vans and lorries using the bridge between 10.30am and 5pm every day were introduced on August 27 and will stay in force until the end of February, with City of York Council saying it will speed up bus journeys and cut pollution.
However, business leaders have said it will harm the city's economy and claims have been made that signs indicating the part-closure were inadequate and misleading. Drivers who breach the restrictions face £60 fines, although an amnesty for the first week of the trial was announced in a council U-turn and many motorists have been seen flouting the new rules.
In a statement released this afternoon, the council said York's traffic network had "responded well" to the trial, and traffic levels had fallen on some key routes including Leeman Road and the Outer Ring Road, although traffic had increased on Foss Islands Road and at Clifton Bridge. It said the roads which had seen the biggest improvement in traffic flow, after traffic-light timings were altered, were Gillygate, Clarence Street and Lord Mayors Walk.
The council said more detailed traffic information would be published next week and also at the end of October after more traffic counts have been carried out. It said there had been "localised queuing" at other junctions during some days of the trial and around York City FC matches at Bootham Crescent, but said: "These have junctions have responded positively to new traffic signal timings and will continue to be monitored.
"Elsewhere on the network, the levels of congestion appear to be fundamentally unaffected by the restriction and are in line with traffic volume expectations during school term time."
The council said its signage scheme for the trial had been "comprehensive" and had indicated the times when it was in force and that it was being monitored by cameras. It said 34 AA advisory signs had also been installed on the city's Inner Ring Road and other main roads into the city-centre, and 18 more will be installed from early October.
Tourism body Visit York has issued information about the trial to its members. The council said it would also soon provide details about the impact of the experiment on bus times.
* What do you think of the Lendal Bridge trial and the council's assessment of its first month? Have your say below and on twitter at @yorkpress, using the hashtag #lendalbridge.
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