HIGHWAYS officers have been asked to inspect the operation of a pedestrian crossing in Darlington amid concerns that it is causing long tailbacks for motorists.

Councillor Tony Richmond said the button-controlled crossing at the end of West Auckland Road, near the centre of Cockerton, sometimes led to queues back to the A1 as the lights were too quick to change in favour of pedestrians.

At a meeting of Darlington Borough Council’s place scrutiny committee he asked highways officers to look at what could be done to make the crossing more efficient for motorists, while also keeping pedestrians safe.

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He said: “I know it’s a balance but I think sometimes we get the balance wrong. Cockerton needs looking at again – traffic ends up back to the motorway and it is caused in part by this crossing.

“That crossing is like a continuation of the pavement and it’s causing a problem.”

Andy Casey, highways officer at the council, said the crossing had been investigated previously and the crossing cycle reduced to the maximum 38 seconds allowed.

He added: “It’s about how long it is safe to leave it for pedestrians to cross. These crossings typically have a 19 second cycle from the time the button is pushed - this one is at the maximum safely advised.

“We are also being pushed nationally to lengthen the time for pedestrians to cross to help older people – we are being pulled in a few different directions.”