Promenade finally open for business

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IT is a golden sight – no roadworks on the Golden Mile!

After months of closures and chaos for traders, residents and visitors alike, Blackpool’s new-look multi-million pound Promenade has finally re-opened.

Blackpool promenade officially re-opened to traffic this afternoon

Blackpool promenade officially re-opened to traffic this afternoon

For the first time since November traffic is able to use the town’s most famous stretch of road.

While it was a happy day for many – the return of passing trade has been greeted by relief by local businesses – some have branded the new road layout on the Prom a “death-trap”.

Cabbie Bill Lewtas was one of the first to return to the Promenade taxi-rank and said:

“I’m pleased it’s up and running again, but there are concerns.

“The road seems to be very narrow and I think that could cause problems, especially during the Illuminations.

“There is a 20mph speed limit which I think is necessary, because the road is so narrow, but we hope there aren’t going to be too many accidents.”

Fears about the road’s width have been sparked by the new design, which has seen the old layout of two lanes of traffic in each direction reduced to one.

A “run off” area has been created at the side to allow taxis and landaus to pull in, but there are no road markings to distinguish between the two lanes of traffic or the taxi zone.

And the “shared space” concept behind the new scheme, which means there are no kerbs or railings to separate the pavement from the road, has also led to criticism and raised fears pedestrians may stray into the path of oncoming traffic without realising.

Blackpool Transport’s managing director Trevor Roberts said his drivers were “professional enough” to adapt to the new road layout.