A PUBLIC vote is to finally be held to decide whether a blocked junction should be reopened to help improve traffic flow around Sheffield city centre.
Council chiefs are holding a poll over the future of the Moorhead junction, which has attracted scores of complaints from motorists.
The online vote is the latest under the council’s Driving Me Crazy scheme, in which people can nominate unpopular traffic restrictions for removal.
Temporary changes introduced during roadworks in 2008 stopped vehicles turning right out of Pinstone Street into Furnival Gate, towards Charter Square. To go right, drivers had first to turn left and make a U-turn round Furnival Square roundabout.
Highways officers claimed traffic flowed better as the Furnival Gate and Pinstone Street junction could have two rather than three traffic light phases: green for traffic or green for pedestrians, with less waiting time.
But queues of buses at busy times now stretch back towards the Town Hall. Council officers claim the queues are not excessive but the vote is being held because they accept the current arrangement does not make sense for people who wish to go to Charter Square.
They said: “The current diversion means they have to negotiate three extra sets of traffic lights and an additional roundabout.”
The poll was meant to be in February but took longer to arrange.
Sheffield Council leader Coun Paul Scriven said: “We want local people, motorists, shoppers, pedestrians and bus users to have their say about the road network.
“We are pleased to be opening the issue for a public vote so the people of Sheffield can decide how this important junction should work.”
Tim Hale, chairman of Champion Hire and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry representative on Sheffield Motorists’ Forum, said partial reopening of the junction would be welcomed.
“Access within the city for commercial vehicles has been difficult for years, principally due to bottlenecks artificially created by closing roads and dividing the city into quarters,” he said.
But Carole Robinson, store manager at Debenhams, said: “I would not support any proposal that would increase delays for pedestrians crossing to and from The Moor.”
Brandon Jones, deputy managing director of First South Yorkshire, said: “As long as Furnival Square roundabout is kept clear, I am not convinced that the reintroduction of the right turn from Pinstone Street would help speed-up overall journey times.”
Proposals do not include allowing through traffic to travel straight on downhill from Charter Square to Furnival Square.
n Log on to www.sheffield.gov.uk/roads/schemes/moorheadvote to vote.