Concern swells over chaos at traffic lights
Delays for drivers caught at Bothwell Bridge site
Concerns have been raised about continuing delays at the new Bothwell Bridge traffic lights.
Central Scotland MSP Margaret Mitchell said that on race days, prior to the traffic signals replacing the roundabout at the bridge, the traffic was re-directed around that roundabout and could turn back up Bothwell Road.
However, now that the traffic signals have been installed there, she said the traffic is now redirected around the Raith roundabout.
And she felt this merely adds to the problems already associated with the Raith roundabout in terms of its size and complexity.
Mrs Mitchell has sent several letters on the issue to different officials in a bid to resolve the issue – including Keith Brown, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work and South Lanarkshire Council’s chief executive Lindsay Freeland.
Mr Freeland responded advising that “given the issues with the lights, the council has written twice to the chief executive of Transport Scotland highlighting the impact these are having on the local road network and requesting proposals and timescales to address this matter. I await a response.”
He added: “I have also raised the issue of diversion due to the installation of the lights and requesting if any temporary measure may be considered to avoid the extent of the diversion around the Raith Interchange. Again, I await a response.”
This follows the Cabinet Secretary advising that “a ‘settling in’ period of approximately three months is required to allow drivers to adjust to the new road layouts”.
A further letter from the Cabinet Secretary advised that “after the monitoring period, further assessments of the traffic signal timings has been undertake and adjustments made during the course of November 2017.”
However, following the settling-in period, the MSP feels the situation has far from improved. The traffic lights replaced the roundabout at the end of August 2017, and it was then that the MSP first wrote to the Cabinet Secretary to raise concerns about significant queues of traffic accumulating along the roads leading up to the junction.
Mrs Mitchell said: “It is now self-evident that the installation of these lights has caused continuous and substantial delays to commuters’ journeys, particularly at peak times.
“This has resulted in longer journeys – not the shorter times that were promised to follow the improvement project.
“Unsurprisingly, those who live and work in the area are becoming increasingly concerned and frustrated about these delays, which did not occur when the miniroundabout was in place.
“Concerns are heightened as the race season approaches, which will only add to the problems.
“It is unacceptable that Transport Scotland has not responded to the council’s serious concerns.
“I have therefore written to Transport Scotland to establish why they have ignored these concerns and calling for action to address the issue.”
Gordon Mackay, head of roads and transportation services at the council, said: “The new traffic signals at Bothwell Road were installed, and are managed, by Transport Scotland as part of the Raith Junction Improvement Works. The council is aware of ongoing concerns about the new system, and its impact on traffic, and is in regular dialogue with Transport Scotland on these issues.”
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “Following a ‘bedding in’ period where road users become accustomed to the new road layout, South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Roads Partnership (SRP) have held discussions to optimise the efficiency of these traffic signals. Several adjustments have since been implemented, however we have again brought these concerns to the attention of SRP to review whether any further improvements can be made.
“There are some remaining works to be completed at this location and SRP has advised that they are in discussion with South Lanarkshire Council regarding these. SRP will contact SLC when these works are nearing completion to discuss the handover of the new road infrastructure. The new traffic signals will become the responsibility of SLC and alternative arrangements for special events, such as those for race days at Hamilton Race Course, can be instigated by SLC as appropriate. For race days falling in the intervening period, SRP will consider any requests from SLC which can be accommodated within the new layout.”
Delays Traffic on Bothwell Road