Traffic planners have resisted the temptation for a continental solution to Preston city centre’s congestion nightmare.
The conversion of Lune Street to two-way for a six-month experiment could have seen motorists driving on the right-hand side in both directions - a first in Britain.
But with special dispensation needed to contravene the nation’s traffic regulations, County Hall chiefs have decided to stay left, even though it will mean vehicles crossing over at both the top and bottom of the street to access a new junction with Ringway.
Work to create the new opening at the bottom of Lune Street is due to finish at the weekend. From Monday motorists leaving the St George’s Shopping Centre car park will be able to turn right and drive down the street to avoid Fishergate.
With the controversial Fishergate bus lane cameras due to be switched back on a week later, the Lune Street option is certain to prove popular with drivers not wanting to take a near two-mile detour around the city. But the scheme to create a short-cut to Ringway could still have its hold-ups, with traffic from the car park relying on vehicles going up Lune Street giving way twice.
“This is only experimental and all things will be considered once we see how it works,” said Coun Keith Iddon (pictured), LCC cabinet member for highways and transport. “But I wouldn’t have thought we would go down that route of driving on the right.”
The new junction onto Ringway will only be a temporary fix for six months, with a more substantial scheme being built if it is made permanent next year.