This week saw the opening of the newly remodelled eastbound road on St Mary’s Way and Livingstone Road in Sunderland City Centre.
St Mary’s Boulevard opened on March 23 and the final surface of the road will be applied closer to the time of completion. Traffic has been diverted onto the new road in order to allow construction to begin on the former Vaux site.
The scheme cost £11.86million in total. £2.34million came from a bid with European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) while £2.5million from Growing Places Fund (GPF).
Sunderland City Council’s cabinet secretary, Councillor Mel Speding was on-site at the new road opening to discuss the road’s progress.
Coun Speding said: “It is great to be able to see how well the work is progressing. Much of the project until this point has not been very visible with a huge amount of effort going into preparing the site and its massive infrastructure and in-built services.”
There have been mixed reviews regarding the new road. SR News went out and asked the general public what they thought of the road.
Lawther Steven, 44, said: “It’s a complete waste of money to be honest, there are better things that could be pit on there rather than one road going around the corning for all that land.”
Rebecca Mann, 23, agreed. She said: “It’s a waste of money, it has just made it worse!”
However, not everyone felt the new road was a waste of money.
Olivia Storey, 21, said: “Hopefully it will reduce congestion, it will be nice to see what they plan to do in the area that has been cordoned off.”
The ‘Ground-Breaking’ ceremony saw the beginning of the construction in June 2013.
Some members of the general public commented on the time the scheme has taken to be completed.
Meureen McGuire, 70, said: “For the length of time it has taken and the amount of money it will cost, I don’t know whether it will be worth it.”
Westbound traffic will begin to use the new road in the approaching weeks so contractors Balfour Beatty can move into developing the top of High Street West, which is being developed into a new public square.
Angela Thompson, 37, found herself and her relatives confused by the sudden change in the road.
She said: “I think people could have been made more aware before they totally changed because I know when my mam and dad were driving they were getting a little bit lost on the road, they didn’t recognise the traffic lights.”
The scheme is due to be finished by winter 2014, with new East and Westbound roads and a new public, pedestrianised area.
What is your opinion about the new eastbound road? Do you think it’s a waste of money or is it a good solution to ease congestion? Vote below in our poll: