FRESH calls to speed up work on the City Bypass have been issued amid concern over an expected surge in the number of vehicles using the road.
The appeal comes after it emerged the Scottish Government said it expected the road to be carrying an additional 10,000 vehicles a day by the year 2022.
Lothian MSP Miles Briggs is now pushing for work to be brought forward after a recent Inrix traffic study suggested the bypass comprised four of the UK’s worst traffic bottlenecks.
He said: “Lothian constituents and businesses will be deeply concerned that the number of vehicles using the city bypass is rising at such a fast rate when all the Scottish Government can offer is vague assurances that Transport Scotland is looking at ways of mitigating congestion.
“Commuters and businesses are fed up of lengthy delays and being stuck in long queues on the by-pass, especially at peak times, and feel that the Scottish Government has not done any proper long term planning to increase capacity on the bypass which is a strategically important route for the whole country.”
Mr Briggs called on the Government to set out “detailed and substantial proposals” to improve the road, which he said should include a timescale for improvements to the Sheriffhall Roundabout.
He added: “Edinburgh and Lothian are the powerhouse of the Scottish economy and the SNP government needs to recognise this and invest in the region’s roads infrastructure.”
The Tory MSP said that according to transport minister Humza Yousaf, the road was used by 78,000 vehicles per day in 2014 and that this is expected to rise to 88,000 by 2022.
It comes after plans for the revamp of Sheriffhall Roundabout – which had been narrowed down to three favoured options – went on display to the public at the beginning of this month.
In all the proposals, Sheriffhall would be removed.
One option would see it replaced with a new roundabout for the A7 and bypass slip roads.
Meanwhile in the other two proposals, two smaller roundabouts for the A7 and connected slip roads would be constructed.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The Scottish Government remains committed to delivering improvements at the busy Sheriffhall junction on the A720.
“We were able to let the public see and comment on the three emerging options as we look to identify a preferred option next year.
“Over the two days nearly 170 people took the opportunity to come along and view the proposals.
“All of these options will grade separate the junction, separating local traffic from the strategic traffic on the bypass and will allow the traffic on the bypass to flow freely, improving road safety and journey times for all road users.
“Delivery of the scheme itself can only commence when the scheme is approved under the statutory procedures and thereafter a timetable for construction can be set in line with available budgets.”