MOTORISTS facing huge traffic jams in the west of the city are furious because they can’t see any work taking place at the roadworks.
Drivers complain it can take more than an hour to get out of the city becaue Queensferry Road is dug up to lay new electric cabling – but when they drive past there are often no workers to be seen. Scottish Power say they are making good progress after an initial delay, but are facing demands to “get a grip”.
The roadworks – which started last month and are due to last six weeks – have reduced the main route to the new Queensferry Crossing to one lane in each direction between Drum Brae and Clermiston.
Kevin Lang, Lib Dem councillor for Almond, said: “Works on this scale on such a busy road were always going to cause problems. However Scottish Power assured us they would put in long shifts and work seven days a week to get it done. Yet every time I pass, there is not a single worker to be seen. Meanwhile, folk are sitting in cars and buses at a virtual standstill because of the lane closures. Scottish Power needs to get a grip and quickly. They have to inject some urgency into getting the work complete and returning the road to normal.”
Rod Alexander, chair of Davidson’s Mains Association, said: “We accept it is essential engineering works to upgrade the power supply and provide additional capacity.
“But Scottish Power gave assurances they would be working all hours possible to get it done quickly. Nothing annoys people more than to get a commitment like that and then see no work taking place.”
Neil Greig, head of policy for the Institute of Advanced Motorists in Scotland, said Queensferry Road was “pretty horrific” for traffic at the best of times. “Losing half its capacity for an extended period means it should be treated as a priority. A road like this is so important for getting traffic in and out of Edinburgh, you really need to be working 24/7.”
There was no sign of any work taking place at the site when the Evening News visited on Friday afternoon. But Scottish Power insisted it was working at the site seven days a week and the roadworks were progressing well.
A spokeswoman said the first phase, which involved partly closing Quality Street, had been completed within its two weeks target and the road was now fully open. “Queensferry Road has been slightly delayed as we were still excavating at the bottom of Clermiston Road North onto Queensferry Road. This area was extremely busy with other utility services and had been previously filled with concrete so progress was very slow.
“However our full traffic management has now been set up and works are progressing well. We delivered a new 33,000 volt power transformer into our primary sub-station on Clermiston Road North last week while the road was closed. This negates the need for a second road closure later in the year. Our teams have been on site daily to deliver this major investment project to the promised timescale, but we’d apologise for any inconvenience to anyone who’s experienced a delay to their journey.”
A council spokeswoman said: “We have been liaising closely with Scottish Power throughout the planning process to minimise disruption. We will continue to work with them to ensure works are completed as quickly as possible and that the project is adequately resourced.”