AN urgent overhaul is needed to improve access to Edinburgh Airport, bosses have warned, after a car crash saw passengers cut off from the terminal for the second time in eight months.
Concerns have been raised over the “early 20th century” road infrastructure after the accident, with fears a similar scenario during one of the busiest times of the year could cause chaos.
The collision between three vehicles that shut Eastfield Road on Wednesday for almost two hours caused bumper-to-bumper tailbacks on to the A8, with ten passengers missing their flights.
Even after the accident was cleared, passengers reported spending over an hour in queues between the slip road and the terminal building as the single carriageway struggled to cope with the congestion.
In November, the airport was cut off for even longer, when a shooting incident in Ratho led to the closure of the A8 for 14 hours overnight.
Airport sources said that a similar incident during a busy summer day, when more than 30,000 people head through the terminal, could spark scenes of chaos and lead to serious economic and reputational damage for the Capital.
Talks are under way between the airport and city council officials, with dualling the narrow road being looked at as a possible solution.
Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “There is a common view that the main access road into Edinburgh Airport should be improved and we are involved in regular discussions about this.
“There is, however, no easy or cheap fix to this issue but the recent road accident only reaffirms our concern and our desire to resolve this problem.”
Edinburgh Western MSP Colin Keir said: “We’re looking at an airport that is undergoing huge expansion. It is one of the major drivers of the Edinburgh, and indeed the Scottish, economy, and I’m not sure the single road in and out can go on. There needs to be a look at how the access is designed.
“You come off a dual carriageway, via a rather elaborate set of roundabouts, on to something that looks like a B-road, into what is the busiest airport in Scotland. There’s no point having a 21st century airport with an early 20th century road.”
A spokeswoman for the city council said: “Edinburgh Airport is incredibly important to the city and its economy, so it is essential that transport links are efficient.
“As the airport continues to demonstrate impressive growth, we will continue to work together to ensure travel to and from the terminal runs as smoothly as possible, by car, bus and tram.”