FURIOUS drivers have hit out at chaotic scenes after the first day under the new Tyne Tunnel system was met with congestion and traffic jams.

Drivers using the Tyne Tunnel on Monday morning described scenes as a "shambles" after some were left queuing for around 40 minutes.

It comes as the ticket booths have today been removed from use as part of a move to "Open Road Tolling," designed to reduce congestion and lower pollution.

Read more: How to use the Tyne Tunnel without being fined as massive changes come in today

But drivers told The Northern Echo that traffic was significantly worse than normal as they said large queues had formed at around 8am. 

Traffic cameras appeared to show the scale of tailbacks on the A19 with cars seen queuing right back to Church Bank on the south side of the tunnels.

One driver described the scene and said: "It was a shambles this morning - it took me over 40 minutes to get through the traffic. It's made everything worse, not better."

Read more: Tyne Tunnel bosses explain what drivers need to do after some are charged twice 

Another said they hoped the problems were down to "teething" issues, rather than something that would become a regular occurrence.

They said: "Well I hope this morning was just teething problems as it was chaos and loads worse than when the tolls were in place."

On social media some echoed concerns, saying the reduction of lanes into two had contributed to busy scenes.

One user said: "Looks like the Tyne Tunnel launch of 'no-stopping' went exactly how everyone imagined.

Read more: Tyne Tunnel users won't need to wait ten minutes before travel

"Chaos, stationary traffic and longer queues than before. Why are lanes closed and filtered down to two lanes on a Monday morning."

But later this morning, the same traffic cameras appeared to show a reduction in congestion with cars moving through freely.

'This is the first day of open-road-tolling'

Responding, a spokesperson for the Tyne Tunnel admitted there had been problems as some drivers had stopped, but said the majority had adjusted to the new system.

A spokesperson for TT2 said: “Changing a tolling-system that has been in operation for many decades, will naturally take drivers some time to get used to. When a driver sees something different to their normal route, their instinct is to slow down, especially on the first day.

“We had lots of extra staff on hand today to help remind drivers not to stop, and to simply drive straight through.

“The majority of travellers adjusted to the new system without any problems and congestion had eased before 10am. However, prior to that, a small number of drivers were stopping or changing lane which created some traffic congestion.

 “This is the first day of open-road-tolling and we expect with each passing day, the number of drivers stopping will reduce and journeys will be further speeded-up.

"We have made some adjustments to our coning system and we will make other changes to signage to improve understanding by drivers of which lane they should be using.”


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