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Traffic lights promised at busy Forres junction seven years ago by Moray Council delayed again


By Garry McCartney

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The junction at Thornhill Road, Orchard Road and St Catherine's Road.
The junction at Thornhill Road, Orchard Road and St Catherine's Road.

SEVEN years on from an announcement that Forres was to get traffic lights at a busy local junction, Moray Council has confirmed another delay.

The local authority promised to install lights at the Brig crossroad, where Orchard Road meets the Grantown road, by June 2015, following a story in the Gazette in October 2014 about the dangers of crossing there for young schoolchildren.

Last September, Moray Council wrote to Richard Lochhead MSP, confirming the imminent installation of signalled pedestrian and cyclist crossing facilities - this was then proposed for the Spring, then the summer, of this year.

However, a council spokesperson has now said: “We’ve had long-term aspirations to install traffic signals at Orchard Road, and whilst we were originally in a position to start these works last year, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a number of delays. We anticipate that these works will begin this financial year.”

Mr Lochhead pressed for a clearer timescale.

He said: “This is an important route from residential areas to the town centre. Covid has understandably caused delays to a number of projects but given the length of the community has been waiting for this crossing, I think it would be helpful if the council would provide a firm timetable.”

Head of Moray Council Environmental and Commercial Services, Stephen Cooper, replied directly to his office.

He explained: "The growth in vehicle numbers which has underpinned the need for this junction improvement relates to the developments that have taken place further south on the A940.

"The funding for the scheme is being provided in the main through planning related developer contributions, which we have been identifying and collecting. In order to expedite the process the council agreed to forward fund the scheme, pending further developer obligations being triggered."

He added: "In terms of timescales, the signal enabling works for the scheme will be concluded this financial year, and the final signal installation works and path works will be done next summer. This will then provide the improvements that we are all looking forward to."

Councillor Claire Feaver (Forres, Conservative) pointed out that the installation is a condition laid on developers of the new housing estates in the south of the town.

She said: “Other projects have continued regardless of Covid-19. I am somewhat disappointed that we are again waiting for this to go ahead. The seven year wait is simply wrong given the inconvenience caused by the rising traffic volumes and increased congestion.”

Cllr George Alexander (Forres, Independent) had a lengthy wait an official response to his query about the delay.

He said: “I am fed up of being given start dates for this development. I can only hope that the promise to start the work before the end of this financial year is not going to be another false dawn.”



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