Sign trial to start on Holy Island Causeway

Visitors to Holy Island will see a difference as they approach the causeway over the next two weeks as a trial of variable message signs begins.

The two variable message signs will conspicuously advise motorists to look at the tide timetables from Saturday 31st March until Saturday 14th April with the aim of alerting people to the dangers of the tides and preventing vehicles becoming stranded.

The first sign will be placed in front of the lay-by section where the tide tables are available to check, and the second will be placed in a range of locations throughout the two week trial to gauge where it has the most impact.

The tide timetables available on the island, website and other locations across the county are also being redesigned over this two week period to make them clearer and easier to follow.

A Quick Response (QR) barcode has been developed and will be provided at various locations around the Island and on the approach to the causeway so that visitors can access the tidetable information quickly. The barcode can be scanned using a smartphone and takes the user straight to the relevant webpage, therefore eliminating the need to type in a web address. The tide timetables are also available by using our Northumberland App.

These measures are being introduced following concerns raised during the summer of 2011 that there had been an increase in the number of vehicles becoming stranded. The Holy Island Causeway working group, including officers from the County Council, Northumbria Police, HM Coastguard, the RNLI and county and parish councillors, was set up and met in November to discuss possible options to prevent instances occurring.

If the trial period is successful, it is hoped that more complex and interactive variable message signs will be installed during the summer to advise motorists of tide times and when and if the causeway is shut. These message signs would be wind or solar powered.

The county council is asking for feedback on the different measures that have been put in place during this two week period. This can be done by phoning our contact centre on 0845 600 6400 or by emailing ask@northumberland.gov.uk.

Coun Isabel Hunter, executive member for infrastructure and environment said: “This two-week trial is an exciting time for us to monitor how the system could work, but also to gauge feedback from residents and visitors. I am pleased that the tide timetables are being revised to make them more user friendly and the new technology involved in the QR response code will certainly make it easier for people to access the correct information quickly. I am confident that these changes will have a positive impact and will help to reduce instances of cars becoming stranded on the causeway.”

To view the tide timetables and for further information, please go to www.northumberland.gov.uk