Edinburgh Airport to build new access road to beat gridlock

Eastfield Road is the only route into the airport. Picture; Sean Bell
Eastfield Road is the only route into the airport. Picture; Sean Bell
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EDINBURGH Airport is to build a new access road because the sole current route is “absolutely at the edge of capacity”.

The fast-growing travel hub said it would contribute millions of pounds to the project to end traffic jams stretching back on to the A8.

Chief executive Gordon Dewar said it planned to spearhead the project to cut congestion on the current Eastfield Road access road.

This is made even worse during major events at the nearby Royal Highland Showground, site of the Royal Highland Show.

Passengers who have tweeted their frustration in recent times have included Professor Aaron Quigley of St Andrews University, who criticised the “access via a country road”.

Mr Dewar said the road would also be a catalyst for building the long-awaited international business gateway nearby.

The airport is growing at more than ten per cent a year, with passenger numbers expected to reach a record 12 million this year.

Mr Dewar told an Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce event: “The tram and forthcoming Gogar tram-train interchange are fantastic stuff but, fundamentally, we do not have a road access solution yet.

“We may very soon be in the position of Edinburgh Airport building public roads. This is a real cusp moment.”

Mr Dewar said later the airport would be a “significant contributor” to the project, but no route or cost had been determined.

He said a link to the M8 would eventually be required, but a connection to the A8 was the first priority.

Mr Dewar said: “My biggest worry is if there is a significant accident on Eastfield Road, there is no other route into the airport.”

A motorway link was proposed eight years ago, but was not included in the Scottish Government’s strategic transport blueprint.

The IAM RoadSmart motoring group said drivers caught up in the queues would be delighted, but the scheme could highlight the need for wider road improvements.

Scotland-based policy and research director Neil Greig said: “A dedicated slip road is long overdue, so this is fantastic news for the many who have no choice but to drive to the airport.

“Edinburgh Airport may be the busiest in Scotland, but it simply can’t compete with Glasgow on high-quality road access [directly from the M8].

“The Edinburgh plans may relieve congestion outside the airport, but it will also show up the delays at the Gogar roundabout and the ongoing inadequacies of the incomplete Edinburgh City Bypass.”

A city council spokeswoman said: “We support the principle of a secondary access to the airport that is consistent with the aim of the local development plan to develop an international business gateway.”

“We are in discussions with the airport and other landowners to bring forward a comprehensive and deliverable package of transport improvements.”