DRIVERS will be banned from performing “dangerous” U-turns to avoid a controversial town centre bus lane.

Essex Highways had installed a traffic island outside Lewis Gardens, in Colchester, in a bid to stop the problem.

Motorists use the junction, off East Hill, to avoid the bus lane running from High Street into Queen Street.

The bus lane has snared more than 60,000 drivers and drawn in almost £2 million in revenue for Essex County Council since 2013.

Now the council has taken the extra step of planning for an order which will make performing the manoeuvre an offence.

John Salmon, of Colchester Civic Society, said drivers would continue to use other roads to make the U-turn.

“I am also a member of the Roman Road Residents’ Association and we have conducted surveys on cars using the road to perform the same manoeuvre,” he said.

“The number of vehicles turning in Roman Road across a ten hour period rose by 65 since our January survey.

“If they manage to stop vehicles turning in Lewis Gardens it will push the problem elsewhere.”

He added: “We still propose they suspend the bus lane and then see what happens.

“There is an impression this will increase the volume of traffic in Queen Street, but most still use the route anyway by turning around.”

Castle ward councillor Simon Crow welcomed the move.

He said: “This has been a big issue for some time - I even saw an elderly gentlemen getting hooted at by a van driver who was trying to do the U-turn.

“There have been accidents.

“I was aware the council had applied for this, I have known for a couple of weeks.

“I fully support a move to prohibit this as it is a dangerous practice.”

In a document outlining the reasons for the move Essex County Council said: “Turning vehicles have been involved in several accidents with cyclists and non-motorised users. The proposed U-turn ban will prevent drivers from turning at this location and from using the footway to turn.”