DRIVERS illegally using the bus gate under the railway bridge in Duke Street, Chelmsford will soon face penalty charge notices.
An enforcement camera is set to be installed next week to deter drivers from using the cut through.
It has been illegal since October 2011.
A ‘bus gate’ is a very short length of road, sometimes physically restricted, which only scheduled buses and other authorised vehicles are allowed to pass through.
The move by the county council to enforce fines aims to help improve bus journey times to and from the nearby bus station and support safety in the city centre.
Signage and road markings are currently being upgraded to help make drivers more aware of the restrictions.
As part of the works, a section of Duke Street will be closed on Monday May 22 between 11.30pm and 5am for approximately 50 metres either side of the railway bridge. Pedestrian access will be maintained.
For a limited period only, motorists contravening the bus lane will be given a warning notice to give them an opportunity to adjust their driving behaviour before penalty notices are sent to all offenders.
Most motorists will be unaffected by the change, however, those who breach the regulations in future can expect to receive a Penalty Charge Notice of £60, which would reduce to £30 if paid within 14 days.
Ian Grundy, councillor for highways, said: “Our officers recently recorded up to 400 vehicles a day illegally using this bus gate, which is why we have moved to enforce it.
“We are doing this to help free up the bus gate to help reduce city centre congestion and increase bus journey time reliability.
“It will also improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists outside Chelmsford’s busy bus and railway stations.
“Any fines we receive from penalty charge notices will be reinvested to help improve Essex’s road and transport network.
“Our long-term aim is to prevent drivers from illegally using this cut through which has been restricted for more than five years now.
“We are currently exploring enforcement options at other key locations in Essex which suffer from high contravention levels.”
Duke Street bus gate is operational 24 hours a day seven days a week, vehicles permitted to pass through it include:
• Hackney carriage taxis (not private hire vehicles)
• emergency service vehicles
• Other permitted vehicles, like winter gritting vehicles, defined within the Traffic Regulation Order.