THE Queensferry Crossing – officially opened by the Queen a year ago today – has left residents living in its shadow with a traffic headache.
Locals in South Queensferry claim changes to the road network around the new landmark £1.3 billion bridge have led to a huge increase in cars and lorries using minor roads in and out of the town which were never intended to carry large volumes of traffic.
They say the closure of a slip road at the old Echline roundabout means motorists now opt to enter and leave South Queensferry either via Bo’ness Road or through Dalmeny.
And they want the slip road reopened to ease the traffic in the town.
Terry Airlie, secretary of Queensferry and District Community Council, said: “The south-bound slip road from the Echline roundabout is now closed and traffic going from Queensferry to Edinburgh has to use the back roads through Queensferry.
“A number of representations have been made to Transport Scotland and the city council both by the community council and our elected representatives.
“When the legislation for the new bridge was introduced in 2010 that was one of the objections the community council put forward – the effect of closing that slip road. There is no reason why it couldn’t be reopened but there has to be the political will to do it.”
Lib Dem councillor Kevin Lang who represents the town, said he had written to the then Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to press for the reopening of the slip road, but without success.
He said: “For all the celebrations of the new crossing, Queensferry itself has been left with something of a hangover when it comes to the traffic situation.
“The new crossing and the closure of the slip road at the old Echline roundabout has totally changed the way traffic moves around Queensferry.”
He said it led to cars speeding past Echline Primary School and also along the narrow roads through Dalmeny.
He said: “The bridge itself is an amazing piece of engineering and construction and we all need to recognise that – but it has also brought problems and the community has been left to pick up the pieces.
“Transport Scotland has tried to walk away from the problems it has created.”
Cllr Lang said he had also urged Transport Scotland to look at putting yellow hatching on the new roundabout to help space out the traffic and reduce congestion, but the agency had a policy of not considering any changes until a year after a road opening.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Formal evaluation work for the project is now under way, but it is too soon to provide specific findings at this point. We are examining impacts on local traffic as part of this process.
“Analysis of any traffic impacts need to be compared to preconstruction forecasts before Transport Scotland could consider any changes that may be required. We continue to engage with local communities on these issues as we have done consistently throughout the lifetime of this project, going back as far as 2007.”