MOTORISTS will be forced to slow down to 20mph when Blackpool Promenade reopens to traffic this summer.
Transport chiefs are preparing to introduce the new speed limit on around a half mile stretch of the Prom between Springfield Road and New Bonny Street.
Two additional raised zebra crossings will also be installed and traffic will be banned from West Street.
Three sets of traffic lights have been removed as part of the remodelling of the carriageway which will see it reduced from four lanes to two.
John Donnellon, head of transportation at Blackpool Council, said: “These changes have always been part of the plans.
“Prior to the remodelling of the carriageway, we had three sets of traffic lights in place which made the traffic stop-start and so the average speed was around 15mph.
“There were a lot of guard rails in place which did not make it easy for pedestrians wanting to cross the road between the beach and the town.
“The remodelled carriageway will be a lot easier to get across but we don’t believe it will disadvantage the traffic. It will flow at around the same speed as before but we need a 20mph limit in order to reinforce the message about speed.
“It will feel much more friendly for pedestrians and should be a pleasant experience for drivers as well.”
A town hall report says because one of the zebra crossings is located at the junction of the Promenade and West Street, “to ensure vehicles do not emerge from West Street onto the crossing, it is proposed to introduce a prohibition of driving restrictions on West Street to apply at all times.”
Changes to Talbot Square could also be in the pipeline.
Additional public space could be built in front of the town hall and the Travelodge.
But Mr Donnellon said those proposals had been put on the backburner until after the local elections.
The Promenade in front of the Tower is currently closed to traffic to allow work to go ahead which includes upgrading the carriageway and building the Tower Festival Headland.
Mr Donnellon said the roadworks were on track with the Prom due to re-open as scheduled in June.
Bill Lewtas, secretary of the Blackpool Licensed Taxi Association, said drivers were concerned about some of the changes and warned they could lead to congestion elsewhere in the town.
He said: “Due to the narrow lanes which are being created on the Promenade a 20mph speed limit seems inevitable.
“But we don’t agree with this road being made so narrow and we are hugely concerned about the effect this will have on traffic.
“I understand that the lanes will be just 3.5 metres in each direction with a two metre ‘run off’ area on either side. It seems that the council wants to slow traffic down to a walking pace.
“Commuter traffic will divert elsewhere and this will put continued pressure on other roads.”