Capital congestion second-worst in UK

More roadworks will bring congestion to southside.  Pic: Archive image
More roadworks will bring congestion to southside. Pic: Archive image

THE Capital is the UK’s second most congested city, according to new research.

The study by satnav firm TomTom found that, last year, the total amount of time spent in traffic by the average driver in Edinburgh was equivalent to seven full days.

Motorists here also face routes even more gridlocked than in London, with only Belfast suffering worse traffic jams.

The findings have sparked dismay among drivers, while city council officials said work was ongoing to free up roads.

“It will come as no surprise to frustrated commuters in Edinburgh that their fair city ranks as one of the worst in the UK for congestion,” said Jerry Stewart, co-director at Bathgate-based Eagle Couriers.

“Continuing cuts to infrastructure budgets have left arterial roads in a state of disrepair with few new routes planned to replace them.”

Mr Stewart claimed his drivers had seen “no noticeable improvement” from new 20mph speed limits already rolled out and enforced from next week.

“The time is now for government at all levels to grab the bull by the horns and make the investments so sorely needed for the health and lifestyle of workers and residents,” he added.

Tory MSP Miles Briggs pledged to raise the issue at Holyrood by tabling a Parliamentary question to “prioritise investment in the road network in Lothian which is the powerhouse of the Scottish economy”.

TomTom’s Traffic Index compares the time it would take to complete a journey on traffic-free roads with actual times recorded on the same routes.

Results are published every year, with Edinburgh rated fourth worst in 2015, only to leapfrog London and Manchester in the 2016 list.

The findings come a day after Edinburgh was rated the UK’s fifth most congested city in a study by traffic information firm Inrix.

TomTom’s findings pinpointed the westbound carriageway of the city bypass approaching Sheriffhall roundabout as the Capital’s most gridlocked road.

The Evening News reported in December how congestion-busting plans at Sheriffhall include tearing up the Capital’s “worst roundabout” and allowing the bypass to pass straight through.

Tony Kenmuir, chairman of Central Taxis, said his firm’s drivers were able to navigate through the worst jams by using bus lanes.

“I think the city does a good job of keeping public transport moving,” added Mr Kenmuir. “Rather than use private cars, if people want to get about, they’re probably better on public transport.”

A council spokeswoman said traffic was monitored from a control room and signal timings changed to keep cars moving.

“Delays are frustrating for all road users which is why the council strives to minimise congestion within the city as far as we can,” added the spokeswoman.

Measures include investment in public transport and cycle routes, as well as working with utility firms to ensure roadworks are planned and coordinated “as carefully as possible”.

The Capital also works “extremely hard” to prevent added congestions on roads caused by the various annual festivals it hosts, including using CCTV to monitor potential hotspots.