FIERCELY opposed town traffic lights will finally be ripped out next week.
There have been petitions, protest marches and public meetings all calling for the removal of the signals at the Telford Bridge junction in Morpeth.
And now, after independent traffic consultant Phil Jones backed the campaigners, Northumberland County Council has confirmed it will remove the lights and re-introduce a mini-roundabout.
The work, which will cost about £18,000, will be carried out overnight on Saturday, October 12, at the same time as structural investigations on the bridge to minimise disruption.
However, there could be another twist in the 18-month saga as there will be a six-month trial period with the roundabout before the council decides on a permanent solution for the junction.
Nevertheless, the Lights Out group, which led the protests, has welcomed the move and is confident the signals will not return.
Chairman David Towns said: “We’ve had champagne on ice since Phil Jones’ initial report concluded that the lights were causing more problems than they had solved, and we’ll be making a toast to eventual common sense whilst the workmen remove the wretched things.
“Lights Out is delighted, but not surprised by this result. Everyone but the council could see that this junction was never going to work properly and when the lights were switched off one weekend a couple of months ago the traffic flowed wonderfully.
“Whilst it is stated by the council that the removal is temporary, we fully expect that the lights will not be making a return.
“Rather than resolving a problem, the lights caused costly and unhealthy congestion. They have also blighted our town for months, destroying the pretty entrance to Morpeth over the Telford Bridge.”
Morpeth Town councillor David Clark, who stood for election as a result of the Lights Out campaign, is equally delighted with the result.
“We are absolutely ecstatic that the lights are coming out,” he said.
“I would like to thank all the supporters of the group who kept us motivated.
“At the six-month point I was about ready to chuck the towel in because I like instant results and I could see this was going to be a long game, but the support kept us going and the taste of victory really is sweet.
“We didn’t do this because we wanted to damage the town, we did it because we love the town and wanted to preserve its character.
“The campaign has been a big part of my life for the last 18 months.
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