Olympic ad warns city drivers of road chaos – but nearest Games venue is 50 miles away

The poster on West Granton Road
The poster on West Granton Road
Have your say

HE will be welcoming the world to London as more than 10,000 athletes from 203 countries compete in 300 events.

But Games organiser Lord Coe surely can’t be expecting the traffic tailbacks to tickle Edinburgh, especially since the nearest event takes place 50 miles away in Glasgow.

Yet motorists have been left baffled after a series of billboards went up warning of chaos on the city’s roads come the summer.

Commuters at the corner of West Granton Road and Pilton Drive North were stunned to read that “Certain roads will be affected during the Games”.

The advert guides drivers to the Transport for London website for news of detailed “restrictions” in their area.

Olympic travel chiefs have spent £8.8 million on the campaign, despite offering no Edinburgh advice on the site. And they denied the city advert was a blunder, even though the closest the Capital gets to the Games will be football at Hampden Park.

The sign – which is emblazoned with logos for the Mayor of London, National Rail, Department for Transport, the Highways Agency and Transport for London – left commuter Kevin Lang perplexed.

The 32-year-old, from Granton, said: “I’ve got tickets for various athletics events at the Olympics so I’ve been drawn to anything with the London 2012 logo on it. This has left me scratching my head though.

“I’ve been a big supporter of the Games but I’m a little unsure about how they are going to affect my commute. Maybe it’s a ploy to blame the traffic disruption from the trams on something else.”

Similar posters have been spotted at Saughton Road North.

A spokeswoman for Transport for London confirmed it was its responsibility, but couldn’t reveal how much the Edinburgh ads had cost.

She said: “This is a national campaign designed to raise awareness of travel restrictions during the Games. There are Olympic events taking place in Glasgow, Newcastle and London, and these posters are to inform those who may be travelling by road to plan and plot their journey accordingly.

“The road network in host cities will be affected and it was felt best to inform those travelling by road that this would be the case. In total the Get Ahead Of The Games campaign has cost £8.8m nationally. How much of this was spent on these posters in Edinburgh I cannot say.”

The Institute of Advanced Motorists’ director of policy and research, Neil Greig, was left baffled by the poster.

He said: “I’ve seen a number of these billboards in London but I’m surprised and amazed to see them in Edinburgh.

“Transport for London are encouraging people to drive to the Games when it has been widely agreed that the Games can only work if people use public transport. This seems to be a screw-up and a complete waste of public money. Traffic information is supposed to be accurate and relevant and this is neither.”

It’s not the first time Olympic organisers have upset the Capital public. Last year they announced plans to erect giant Olympic rings on Edinburgh Castle but a furious backlash led by the Evening News’ Say No to Coe campaign forced them to settle for The Mound.