Traffic gridlock at Edinburgh Aiport ahead of Royal Highland Show and Ingliston concerts

Motorists are facing growing gridlock on one of the Edinburgh’s busiest roads with a ‘temporary’ bus lane installed during the pandemic being blamed for massive delays.

By Neil Johnstone
Monday, 6th June 2022, 4:45 am
Updated Monday, 6th June 2022, 9:19 am

Cars and lorries have been restricted to a single lane on the A8 at peak times after the bus lane was created in late 2020 during the Covid pandemic in order to priorities public transport and speed up bus journey times.

Some of the worst traffic jams are affecting drivers heading to Edinburgh Airport with fears that the problem will only grow worse in the coming weeks as growing numbers of holidaymakers head to the airport, the Royal Highland Show and a series of big name concerts are staged at nearby Ingliston and major employers in the area return to more office-based working.

The delays are so bad that motorists are reporting taking up to 28 minutes to get the 2.3 miles from Newbridge roundabout to Edinburgh Airport – a stretch which normally takes around four minutes when the road is clear.

Traffic on the A8 is at a gridlock

Now Edinburgh Airport is calling for the bus lane to be suspended and a wider review of traffic in the city to be carried out.

The Royal Highland Show gets underway between June 23-26 drawing massive crowds to Ingliston and the Royal Highland Centre will host a series of concerts – featuring big names including Biffy Clyro, Rage Against The Machine, The Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim – which will also see large audiences heading to the area.

The city council are understood to be monitoring the issue after receiving complaints about the growing car journey times last month.

The bus lane was created under a Transport Scotland funded project during the pandemic designed to prioritise public transport journey times for essential workers. The local initiatives were said to be temporary and to be kept under review.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: "After this scheme was brought in without consultation, we were assured that it would be removed when required - that time is now.

“It is already causing gridlock and extended journey times and we have very real concerns that this will only get worse as the airport enters the busy summer season, more people return to work at the Gyle, RBS and surrounding areas, and the Royal Highland Showground begins its various summer events.

“This bus lane, put in because of the pandemic, must be suspended with immediate effect while we have a serious discussion about the transport needs for West Edinburgh.”

The city council’s newly-appointed transport convener Scott Arthur told the Evening News: “It’s really important that we protect and improve public transport links into the city but if this particular arrangement is causing problems I’m happy to speak to both Lothian Buses and the airport to see if they can be addressed.”

A council spokesperson added: “We have been monitoring the area since the introduction of the bus lane, which is peak time only and was designed to support travel by bus, and will continue to do so to help inform any decision on the future of the scheme."