ROAD layout changes intended to improve safety on the A8 near the airport have created a higher risk of accidents, according to residents.
The removal of deceleration lanes for vehicles turning off the A8 into Gogarstone Road has increased likelihood of “shunts”, they say, while the loss of the acceleration lane for motorists turning out of Gogarstone Road also means a greater chance of a crash.
Ratho resident Maureen Liddell wants the changes reversed. She said: “This junction layout has been altered without local consultation and has turned a relatively safe junction into one with a high potential for serious accidents.”
She said many people from Ratho use the junction to access the airport slip road, going to work at the airport, heading for the Ingliston park and ride or to go to the roundabout and travel east along the A8.
And she pointed out they used to be able to go straight from the acceleration lane onto the slip road without the need to merge onto the A8, but now have to join the busy main road and exit again almost immediately.
Ms Liddell said a road safety audit for the council before the changes had even highlighted potential problems which were now evident, such as “exacerbation of congestion and increased queuing on the airport slip road with increased risk of rear shunts”.
She said: “Multiple reports of near misses are now being made daily on Facebook, in several cases accompanied by road rage from drivers in cars following who are not expecting any vehicles to turn sharp left.”
Council bosses say the recently introduced 40mph limit on this stretch of the A8 means the acceleration and deceleration lanes are not required and insist the changes make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
But Judy Wightman, chair of Ratho and District Community Council, said many drivers ignored the new speed limit. She said: “The police say the cars are going at 40mph but I don’t think any of us believe that.
“It’s quite difficult when you slow down to turn off the A8, I thought I was going to have a bus up my back. I’ve never been so scared.
“And they’ve reduced the slip road to the airport to a single lane, which is ironic when they’ve just increased the road from the airport to the dumbbells roundabout to two lanes.”
Tory councillor Susan Webber, who represents the area, said the changes had resulted in traffic chaos during the recent Gardening Scotland event at Ingliston. “The queues down the airport access road were backing up the inside lane of the A8 for a significant distance,” she said. “It’s the Highland Show in a few weeks when the traffic always gets crazy. It will be even worse than usual unless there is an immediate remedy.”
Transport vice convener Karen Doran said: “We are aware of concerns surrounding the recent changes to road markings at this junction on the A8. In response, officers are currently looking into a range of short and longer term measures to address these, while ensuring the safety of those crossing Gogarstone Road by foot or on a bike as well as adherence to the new 40mph speed limit.”