STEWART Avenue’s light rail crossing will be controlled by traffic workers until the community adjusts to the changed traffic conditions of trams crossing the road.
Workers have been patrolling the crossing for the past few weeks whenever a tram moves into or out of Newcastle Interchange on the western side of the road.
Traffic signals are operating at the crossing and it is the only part of the light rail line where traffic workers are still in place during testing.
The Newcastle Herald understands there had been some issues with cars banking up on Stewart Avenue across the light rail tracks.
Having traffic controllers at the crossing has also helped light rail drivers as they learn to operate trams across the busy north-south arterial road.
A Revitalising Newcastle spokesperson told the Herald the workers would remain in place during testing.
“Revitalising Newcastle is using traffic control at the Stewart Avenue light rail crossing during testing as a safety precaution while the community adjusts to the new traffic conditions,” the spokesperson said.
“Revitalising Newcastle encourages all road users and pedestrians to be aware when moving around light rail, and to follow the road rules, traffic signals and signage.”
Warning lines were also painted on Stewart Avenue in recent weeks as an enhanced safety measure.
The section of road was one of the city’s most notorious pinch points before the removal of the former heavy rail level crossing.
Concerns were raised ahead of light rail construction regarding future congestion along the stretch of Stewart Avenue from King Street to Honeysuckle Drive.
Four sets of traffic signals operate on the stretch of road and the light rail will operate in synchronization with the nearby signals.
Revitalsing Newcastle has previously said trams would move through the crossing quicker than the time it took for a train to pass with boom gates, and motorists are waiting about 30 seconds for a tram to cross the road.
In peak periods, a tram will cross twice every seven and half minutes to arrive and depart from the interchange.
Doma Group’s plans for The Store site also have a one-way vehicle access lane off Stewart Avenue for a kiss and ride drop off to the future bus interchange, and access to retail and office spaces.