A £1.2m road scheme to improve links between Hartlepool town centre and the marina has been given the green light.
The project centres on changes to Stockton Street between Park Road and Church Square that aim to create a “sense of arrival” for motorists to the town centre.
Works will include removing the wall that runs along the centre of the dual carriageway in an effort to make the area look more attractive.
Council chiefs said at the moment visitors to Hartlepool are driving past the town centre without realising.
Changes to pedestrian crossings in the area also aim to make it easier for people to cross.
It is one of four projects in the Hartlepool Vision’s Innovation and Skills Quarter programme.
Tony Hanson, assistant director (environment and neighbourhood services), said: “It’s to improve the access for vehicles into the town centre and trying to bring that sense of place when you arrive in the town centre.
“What you tend to have at the moment if you come along the A689 you tend to be out the other side not realising you have passed through the town.
“This is about improving Hartlepool as a destination for people to come to, encouraging people to visit the town and hopefully spend money.
“And it supports the wider regeneration of what we are doing in Church Street and Church Square.”
The wall, which has been in place for more than 20 years, will be replaced with maritime-theme railings.
A redesigned ‘one phase’ pedestrian crossing from Church Square to the Wilkinson’s corner will be created.
And a right hand turn with traffic lights will be added so vehicles travelling on Stockton Street out of town can enter the multi-storey car park.
The council says it will prevent drivers having to travel via Church Square, Tower Street and Huckelhoven Way.
The scheme was approved by the Neighbourhood Services Committee.
Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher said: “When people from outside of town who want to invest come in, the question is ‘what are you going to do about connectivity?’
“Hopefully this will address those problems.”
Coun Marjorie James said the new car park turning should be covered by CCTV to deter drivers performing u-turns.
Coun Tom Hind said: “I just wonder why we are spending £1.2m when we could have got it right first time.”
Work is due to start on site in April and be completed by December next year.