Edinburgh council plans to scale back promised safety measures at accident blackspot in money-saving bid

Council chiefs have proposed scaling back on promised safety measures at a notorious accident blackspot in a bid to save money.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 4:55 am

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Work to improve the junction of the A71 and Dalmahoy Road by realigning the road and installing traffic lights was due to be carried out last year, but was postponed because of the pandemic.

And now the council wants to scrap the redesign and the traffic signals and settle for a lower speed limit and traffic calming measures.

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The A71 with the Dalmahoy Hotel entrance on the left and Dalmahoy Road on the right   Picture: Google Maps
The A71 with the Dalmahoy Hotel entrance on the left and Dalmahoy Road on the right Picture: Google Maps

The junction has seen numerous accidents and near-misses over the years, but the council says interim measures have reduced the number of injury accidents.

And it says the cost of the agreed scheme is now £962,000, compared with the approved funding of £455,000.

The proposal for the reduced measures is due to be considered at the transport and environment committee tomorrow.

But resident Ben Bright said: “Residents have been asking for over 30 years for a realignment and signals at this dangerous junction.

"It's all about sight lines. When you come out of Dalmahoy Road and you look to the west the road curves. Even standing at the bus stop, you can't see the bus coming until it's almost on top of you.

“And when you're coming out of the Dalmahoy Hotel entrance you have to creep out so far to be able to see beyond the cottages to look west that the front of your car is already in the carriageway.

“We all agree that if they go with this new option which is not aligning the intersection, just putting in a pedestrian crossing and slowing traffic down, that would just be a waste of money because it doesn’t solve the issue of not being able to see.”

Mr Bright, whose wife is rector of St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Dalmahoy, said in early 2020, a group of around 20 trees, including an ancient oak, were cut down to allow the road to be widened as part of the signalisation scheme and residents were told construction wok would start on July 1, but then Covid intervened and the work was postponed until July 1, 2021. But in February this year it emerged the council had begun revising the plans in November 2020.

“Had Covid not happened, we would have had traffic lights and a realignment.”

The council report says interim measures of a 40mph speed limit had cut injury accidents from seven in March 2015-February 2018 to four in March 2018-December 2020.

Graeme Bruce, Conservative councillor for the area, backed the residents.

"It’s a really bad junction and should have been sorted 10, 20 or 30 years ago. I want to see a signalised junction – if you’re going to do something do it right, don’t waste time and money putting in half-hearted improvements.”

And Lib Dem Kevin Lang said the council was trying to save money by going for a scheme which failed to respond to very serious safety concerns.

“With all the focus on Spaces for People the council has taken its eye off he ball when it comes to serious road safety projects. Here we've got an opportunity to show the council is serious about investing proper resources to make dangerous junctions safe for everyone, yet the council seems to be taking a short-termist, money-pinching view.”

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes claimed assessments showed the new proposals could achieve a similar reduction in collisions to the agreed plan.

She said: “As a council we must direct limited resources where they’re most needed and this alternative package of changes would allow us to improve the junction, delivering desired safety benefits, within budget.”

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