Transport Scotland today, 25th October, revealed that it is to impose reduced speed limits on 44 sections of road across Scotland – places which have a poor – but not always the worst – accident record.
This ‘plan’ is fully in line with Transport Scotland’s history of decision taking erratically adrift from reason and logic.
Scotland’s most dangerous road, the Perth to Inverness A9 – is being left with its speed limits unamended, even though its accident record is bad and sections of changing from dual to single carriageway and back are known black spots.
Other sections of road from short to 12 mile sections are having their speed limits cut by 10-20 mph, although other sections that Transport Scotland itself admits could have their limits raised are being left alone.
This is yet another inconsistency, a characteristic of the proposed changes remarked upon as unhelpful by several of the country’s senior motoring organisations, like the Institute of Advanced Motorists quoted as saying that study results are not being properly implemented.
In terms of Argyll, the A83 along Loch Fyneside, between Ardrishaig and Tarbert, is to come down from 60 to 50mph.
This includes a narrow section known as The Erinnes, wending between the foreshore below and a rock wall above – which has previously dumped tons of itself on the road, closing it for substantial amounts of time and leaving Campbeltown in Kintyre virtually cut off.
This is one of the troubled sections of the A83 identified in a vigorous and successful campaign – Sign for the A83 – led by the Argyll First group of Councillors who are part of the current coalition administration of Argyll and Bute Council.
The Sign for the A83 campaign led to Argyll-wide support across industrial, business and domestic road users and a petition in progress at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.
The objectives of the campaign and the petition included:
- getting a permanent solution to the landslide prone A83 identified and scheduled;
- getting ‘pinch points’ on the A83 addressed – one of them at The Erinnes between Ardrishaig and Tarbert;
- getting this illogically half-and-half road trunked all the way to Campbeltown in Kintyre.
In response to the pressure created by this campaign – which has a killer card up its sleeve if Transport Scotland fail to deliver – Transport Scotland commissioned a report on the A83, including these specific matters, from consultants, Jacobs.
This report is not yet complete but its commissioning authority has made its conclusions redundant before they are either reached or known.
Nothing could illustrate more clearly the lack of integrity in Transport Scotland’s use of commissioned studies. There is not even an attempt to cut the grass verges first, to disguise the formulaic intention to use the consultants’ report to dump the A83 issue in the long stuff.
The imposed solution to the pinch point at The Erinnes is simply to reduce the speed of the traffic going through it.
Quite how this makes that section less of a pinch point rather than more of one defies logic.
This is THE major arterial road in and out of Argyll, running through it all the way from its most easterly area right to the west coast and down to is most southerly town.
This is a TRUNK road at the point where speed is now to be reduced to 50mph, pinching traffic more determinedly.
There are two conjoined interpretations of Transport Scotland’s wheeze, neither of which do it any credit and together insult and abuse road users.
- It’s cheaper to reduce speeds than to maintain and upgrade inadequate sections of road.
- Reducing the speed limit could be an even nicer little earner than before for Scotland’s new unitary police force, born into a £70 million budget deficit.
This is a win/win for a banana republic.
It is, however, a big time defeat for a country that above all things, needs its infrastructure brought up to fitness to support its desperation for growth.
In our view it is not the business of a transport department to deal with speed limits. It’s job is to provide roads that are fit for purpose and Transport Scotland is failing on that core responsibility.
Decisions on speed limits should be a matter for the Police Traffic Division where the relevant expertise exists.