Barriers to prevent drivers crossing the causeway to Holy Island when the tide is approaching have been ruled out.
The decision was made by a working group established earlier this year determined to find ways of stopping drivers trying to cross from the mainland to the island when the tide turns.
Visitors to Holy Island often attempt to drive across the causeway as the tide comes in, despite warning signs indicating safe crossing times.
The barrier idea was rejected because local people objected, and they would be impractical and unreliable.
Motorists often have to be rescued and cars suffer serious damage. There had been calls for barriers to be erected at either end of the causeway that could be lowered when the tide is in.
But earlier this year residents on the island petitioned against the idea. They said not one resident had been stuck on the causeway and they would be most affected by barriers. They believed barriers would impact on their lives “far too much” and felt there would be “havoc” if they broke down in bad weather.
The petition was signed by 148 people and presented to Northumberland County Council. Shortly afterwards, the authority launched the working group to explore solutions. The group is made up of representatives from Northumbria Police, HM Coastguard, the RNLI, county and parish councillors and officers.
A report prepared by the county’s sustainable transport and highways officers says barriers would cost around £40,000, and lists their negatives as “highly invasive” which could create bad feeling and have an adverse effect on tourism.
Instead, the working group is recommending that a mobile phone application should have a “high priority” for being pursued due to its low cost and ease of implementation. Support was also given to a variable message sign which would cost £12,000-£16,000 and which the party felt would be “the most high-impact solution.”
It said displaying tide tables on ticket machines should be pursued because it is a low-cost option. Officers have been authorised to further explore the use of signs, likely to cost £10,000, while support was given to simplifying tide table displays.
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