Dalmahoy junction gets scaled-back upgrade after residents waited 35 years for improvements
Residents who have been campaigning for a junction upgrade for the past 35 years are to get a cut-down scheme because the council says it is short of money.
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The junction on Dalmahoy Road, which includes the entrance to the hotel and country club where US president Joe Biden stayed during his visit to COP26 last week, is a notorious accident blackspot.
And in 2015 a council report said a fully-signalised junction was the only practical option to improve safety.
But the project was delayed, costs increased and the council came forward with a redesign. The Evening News reported in June on the residents' dismay at the scaled-back plans and a decision was postponed.
Some changes have been made, including a realignment of the road, but the plans now approved are for a signalised pedestrian crossing rather than a full-signalised junction.
The council claims the new scheme, which also includes a 30mph speed limit, will have a similar impact in reducing collisions but will cost £625,000 instead of £962,000.
Resident Ben Bright told the committee an earlier council report had highlighted safety risks with a pedestrian crossing, including drivers not seeing the lights and buses stopping on the carriageway increasing the danger of head-on collisions.
And he said a lot of the extra cost of the scheme was about tackling drainage issues rather than road safety.
Judy Wightman of Ratho and District Community Council said: "In 2016 we were promised signalised traffic lights for both pedestrians and motorists and we were very relieved that something we had first asked for in 1986 was coming to fruition. It wasn't until February 2021 that our hopes were dashed."
And she said without enforcement, it was unlikely a 30mph limit would have more than a minimal impact on speeding traffic.
Tory transport spokesman Graham Hutchison told the committee the pedestrian crossing scheme was not what the community had waited all these years for. “It’s frankly a poor use of public money and it’s not delivering the road safety improvements.”
And Lib Dem Kevin Lang said while there were “endless amounts” available for big changes in the city centre, when it came to rural areas there was never enough money.
But convener Lesley Macinnes said there was a choice between holding off and hoping for the full scheme or taking action now. “Let’s go with what we've got, with the budget we know we can deliver rather than put it off and try to find more money, having to cut projects elsewhere.”
Tory councillor for the area, Graeme Bruce, said the scheme was a half-baked solution that offered little or no value for money and possibly presented more danger to users of the junction rather than making it safer.“Why on earth would you spend £625,000 on a pedestrian crossing when you could spend just over £300,000 more to have a fully-signalised junction to make it safe for all road users including pedestrians? It’s an absolute ‘no brainer’ to spend the extra money to get this right first time.
“The SNP says it takes money from other projects. Do they not think it’s the turn of the local residents at the junction, in Ratho and outlying communities to have some proper funding for road improvements? They’ve only been waiting 30-40 years.”