TRANSPORT bosses are ready to take extra measures to improve traffic flow on the approaches to the Queensferry Crossing if the increased 70mph speed limit fails to sort out congestion.
Edinburgh Western Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton says Transport Scotland recognises there are issues about motorists being slowed down by the road layout as they head for the new £1.35 billion bridge.
And after meeting them for talks, he said they were already planning some improvements.
It was hit by long queues when it opened in September and Mr Cole-Hamilton admits traffic is still being slowed down at the point where the A90 from Edinburgh joins the M90 heading for the new Queensferry roundabout before the bridge.
He said: “Until recently a lot of the attention has focused on the ‘snagging’ problems and bringing in the 70mph limit, but there are significant issues well known to people who live near the crossing or use it regularly not yet addressed.”
He said meeting with Transport Scotland was constructive, adding: “They recognise the Queensferry junction just before the bridge is causing tailbacks at the A904. They want to see what happens with the speed limit at 70mph, which might ease the pressure on that roundabout. But if it continues they are willing to consider a box junction, where the road is marked with a yellow grid which motorists can enter only if the exit is clear.”
He said they also recognised the problem of merging traffic bringing down the ambient speed of traffic on the main drag and technology due to be brought into operation in January should help ease that.
A system known as “ramp metering” uses detectors under the road which will automatically trigger traffic lights towards the bottom of the slip roads on the immediate approach to the bridge. The same technology will be used to help control the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) on the M90, detecting increases in traffic flows and adjusting the variable mandatory speed limits on the overhead ITS gantries to aid traffic flow and improve safety.
Mr Cole-Hamilton also voiced concern about access in and out of South Queensferry now the old Echline roundabout is no longer available. He said: “You can go through Dalmeny, but that is putting a vast number of cars on to roads not designed to support that volume of traffic.”
He said Transport Scotland had recognised there was “undue pressure” on the roads but explained the roundabout could not be reopened because it was now the gateway to the public transport corridor over the old Forth Road Bridge,
Grant Sangster, transport convener for Queensferry and District Community Council, said there had been a lot of congestion when the bridge first opened but the situation seemed to have improved. “
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We welcomed the meeting Mr Cole-Hamilton to discuss issues raised by local residents.
“We are keeping the performance of the entire scheme and surrounding roads under review and can consider any appropriate changes provided they are safe, sensible and in keeping with the original objectives of the project.”