Go-ahead for £120m upgrade with flyover at Edinburgh's Sheriffhall roundabout
The controversial £120 million upgrade of the Sheriffhall roundabout and the construction of a flyover in a bid to ease traffic congestion has been given the go-ahead by council leaders.
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The plans are now expected to go to a public inquiry early next year before being approved by the Scottish Government, with work starting in summer 2025 and the flyover opening in late 2027.
The scheme is being funded through the City Region Deal which covers Edinburgh, the Lothians, Borders and Fife.
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Ahead of the decision, Edinburgh’s depute council leader Cammy Day said he was “not convinced” the proposals were the right thing for the Capital and voiced concern about more cars coming into the city.
And at today’s meeting of the City Region Deal joint committee, council leader Adam McVey admitted Edinburgh had been "nervous" about some aspects of the project and its impact on the city.
But he said here had been significant improvements on active travel provision and public transport.
"It has made Edinburgh less nervous about the scheme and where we do have remaining nervousness the commitment to work together as a region is really important," he said.
"We need a bypass that works and right now we have a logjam which causes quite a lot of issues. The impact of that is people taking routes that bypass the bypass and using residential streets in the city centre as a quicker route than the bypass.
“It's in no-one's interests to have an incentive for more people to travel by car in the region, but it is still crucially important that a bypass works and does its job and stop other issues which would be more damaging."
The scheme would use the flyover to separate local traffic from through traffic, but it was previously branded a “spaghetti junction” by Greens.
Claire Miller, transport spokesperson for Edinburgh’s Green group, said: “I’m incredibly disappointed to hear the news that council leaders are going ahead with this extortionate road-building project that contradicts government transport policy, instead of spending the money on the green recovery which Edinburgh and the region needs.”
The decision was welcomed by Midlothian Council leader Derek Milligan.
He said: “As well as improving road safety and relieving the severe traffic congestion experienced by so many at Sheriffhall, the active travel features will be widely welcomed as they will greatly improve accessibility for walkers and cyclists.
“Significant improvements in bus journey times and reliability can also be expected as a result of the improvements, with the potential for more public transport services in the future.
“However, we are urging Transport Scotland to deliver the upgrading much earlier than is currently scheduled.”
Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs welcomed the decision but also voiced concern about the timescale.
"The longer this takes, the more the congestion and the more the cost to the economy. This should have been a priority a decade ago, not waiting for another half decade to pass.“The South-East region is where the growth in the Scottish economy is, but also the growth in our population. We need to see investment in infrastructure if we're going to be able to keep the area moving – moving physically in terms of cars and lorries and goods, but also in terms of our local economy and jobs.”