Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A96 Nairn Traffic problems - Transport Scotland recently agreed to put their data in the public domain but when will that happen?

On 1st November we reported: "At the meeting of Nairn West Community Council last Tuesday night in the Academy, the Secretary Brian Stewart told his colleagues that Transport Scotland had agreed to have a consultative meeting with the members of the Community Councils to discuss “what to do about the Traffic Lights”. The consultative meeting was to take place the next day Wednesday 28th of October. No word of what happened at that meeting has yet entered the public domain - did Transport Scotland respond to local concerns? Perhaps we will find out soon." Full article here.

Last night at Cawdor a little more information about that meeting between Transport Scotland and Nairn Councillors emerged but the public still has no details of what Transport Scotland had to say at that meeting. 

Last night at Cawdor Community Council's regular meeting, the last of the current term, the members discussed the recent decision of Highland Council to move the WhiteBridge project up the capital programme. Chair Margaret Robertson asked Michael Green for an update. 

Michael expressed his delight that the project had moved up the capital programme. He praised the effort of the community groups, Cllrs Stephen and Balfour and Highland Council officials. He said a time table would appear detailing the next stages in the process: the planning, the implementation, the starting work. He said meetings would now be on a less frenetic basis than prior to the decision. 

He then spoke about the WhiteBridge from a Nairn perspective:

“There are going to be serious implications for the traffic flow going through Nairn. The figures that we are talking about are 50 or 80 artics a day which is the figure that has gained some currency. It is going to cause real problems I would suggest.

At a recent meeting two weeks ago with senior Transport Scotland officials (and we meet with them twice a year). I made the point that it’s no good solutions coming forward from the community, that’s not our job. We have to live with the effects of the decisions that are made. Now, the blue tooth monitoring of the situation and that’s why I was stressing why we need to get this information out to the Community Councils about traffic flows through Nairn. So we can establish what the situation is just now; it’s not just anecdotal, it’s actually qualitative data that should be in the public domain and will be coming into the public domain. 

[...]The combination of the information that we already have on the A96 and the work that the Highland Council will be doing. I tasked them and I said: “You are the professionals. You guys have the information. You must come forward with plans to ameliorate the effects.” [...] Whether it’s they decommission and they set several sets of traffic lights. They have got the knowledge, they have got the expertise. So I’m looking to them in the spring to come forward with solutions. We are facing a pretty dreadful two years. We saw what happened when Scottish Gas unilaterally decided to cross the A96 over a weekend – it was actual gridlock. So we don’t want to go through that on a long term basis. The ball is very firmly in Transport Scotland’s court and working in conjunction with the Highland Council I would have every expectation because that is their job, to come up with solutions.”

Margaret Robinson then said: “Well the figures 50-80 are based on actual crossing figures over the bridge currently, that’s daily of HGV or over 18 tonne. So these vehicles will have to find another route. Whether they actually all come along the preferred route through Nairn or find alternatives we won’t know until the weight restriction order goes on but it’s potentially quite serious for Nairn.”

When asked if it was incumbent on Transport Scotland to put the meeting data into the public domain or whether councillors could do that Michael replied that there had been an agreement that the information would be put out on a regular basis. He continued:

“I cited this as an example of the difficulties that communities have if agencies adopt a sort of secret squirrel approach – it doesn't help. Transport Scotland were very keen to get this information out into the public domain via the community councils and the press on a regular basis. [...] So that will be happening. Why is there a delay? That was over two weeks ago. I haven’t received the data yet. I’m not quite sure why that hasn’t happened because I left that meeting with the agreement that it would be forwarded to me. I’ll be following that up bit that will happen because that was agreed.”


Anonymous said...

As well as bluetooth monitoring i also assume that TforS is responsible for the double black cables across the road surface that also monitors traffic - they have popped up in and around Niarn frequently and seeing that Data would also be very beneficial.

Could it be the Data is quite inflammatory when we/it finally gets released an the sheer volume (and perhaps speeds) of traffic in / around / on the unofficial bypass to nairn.

Graisg said...

Anything not on the A96 would belong to Highland Council anon.

speed bump said...

Among the still unanswered questions is - does Highland Council have comparative traffic data for the Croy-Cawdor-Auldearn unofficial bypass for the periods before and after the introduction of the extra traffic lights on the A96 through Nairn?

That information is essential to assess the extent to which the new Nairn lights have led to a diversion of traffic off the A96 and on to the back-road "rat-run".

Graisg said...

@ speed bump, would imagine your local Highland Councillors could find out that information for you. Pick any one from four.

Blue lightning said...

Why are the traffic lights out again at the junction of Moss-Side Road and the A96? It is dangerous in the dark at the best of times.