After years of complaints and millions of pounds of fines from unwitting motorists a controversial and confusing road junction is finally set to be overhauled to make it easier for drivers to avoid going the wrong way.
Croydon Council said it was planning to change the junction in West Croydon's London Road, which has been generating millions of pounds in fines from unassuming motorists over the past four years.
Poor signs and unclear road markings have been making motorists incorrectly drive straight on into Poplar Walk instead of veering right towards Tamworth Road.
The Croydon Guardian revealed in June 2005 that dozens of motorists were being caught on camera and fined up to £120 a day.
Despite a long campaign to get the junction improved, council officers only agreed to change the signs - but the changes made last year made no dent in the numbers being fined each day.
This week, however, Croydon Council has started work on a massive redevelopment of the junction which will see two new traffic islands installed to re-route drivers to Tamworth Road.
The changes have been welcomed but some drivers are demanding to know why they were not made sooner. The council has also been accused of using the junction as a "temporary cash cow".
The works were expected to last one week. A spokesman warned the solution would not stop "determined drivers" but channel vehicles from London Road toward Tamworth Road. He added: "The islands and associated road signs and surface markings will leave motorists in no doubt as to the route they should take."
Travelling south along London Road, approaching the junction, drivers will encounter the first of the two islands, almost outside the Maplins electronics store. Buses will pass the island on the left, while other traffic will be directed to pass it on the right.
The second island will be on the far side of the junction, outside the Arkwright's Wheel pub at the entrance to North End.
The islands will guide buses into North End and Poplar Walk, but should channel other vehicles, in the right-hand lane, into Tamworth Road.
Motorist Hamish Birchall, 50, was fined at the junction in 2006 and has long been fighting Croydon Council over what he claimed was a "serious maladministration".
He launched a formal complaint with the local authority ombudsman alleging the council installed the enforcement camera when it knew hundreds of drivers were going the wrong way. This week he was told the case was an "insufficient injustice" to be investigated.
He said: "It has taken the council 18 months to finally implement a solution. They originally said they were going to do this in 2006 and all of that time they have been fining people at the same rate as before. With that knowledge from the 2004 survey the council should have immediately made improvements to the signage. Instead, they installed a camera in August that year that issued a high level of tickets to people."
The council spokesman added: "The works had been part of a larger strategy that would have seen the enlargement of West Croydon station. The necessary land, however, could not be obtained, and those plans didn't materialise. The works, therefore, became part of a scaled-down scheme that is now able to proceed."