Angus Council is driving forward ambitious plans to improve road safety near the Westway Retail Park in Arbroath, despite the fact it will use up almost all of its relevant budget.
Members of the local authority’s communities committee approved the £239,000 plan proposed by road chiefs to address concerns over pedestrian and cyclist accessibility and traffic congestion in the area.
A survey found the junction on the A92 Dundee Road/ Westway mini roundabout, already under pressure during peak hours, will get worse.
Councillors agreed to widen the carriageway to the south of the A92 Dundee Road/Westway mini-roundabout junction to provide another lane for traffic approaching from the west, and to widen the approach lane to the east.
Traffic signals with Toucan crossing facilities will be installed on the north and west approaches at the Westway/ retail park priority junction, and two southbound lanes will be installed between that junction and the A92 Dundee Road/ Westway junction.
The estimated cost is £239,000 but while there is no specific funding provision within the council’s current financial plan, the 2018/23 plan includes £200,000 for traffic calming/ road safety for 2018/19 and £50,000 for traffic signals/ pedestrian facilities.
It is planned the works will span two financial years 2018/19 to mitigate the impact on the limited budgets.
David Cheape, independent councillor for Carnoustie and District, tried to put the brakes on part of the scheme at the meeting in Forfar.
He suggested the work should be split into two phases with the widening of the A92 coming second, adding: “This is a waste of scarce resources. We keep getting told there is no budget, this has come completely out of the blue.”
He put forward an amendment to proceed with the works in the Westway with the A92 work looked at in future as a more pressing need. He did not receive a seconder.
Supporting the plans Lois Speed, Independent councillor for Arbroath East and Lunan, said: “The people of Arbroath have spoken. The talk of the town is that this is something that needs addressed. We need to be putting the safety of pedestrians and vehicle users at the front of this.”
David Fairweather, fellow Independent member for the ward, described the junction as “a bit of a nightmare”.
“The proposals seem more than sensible and will be welcomed by pedestrians and cyclists.
“I understand the worries regarding the financial implications but believe this needs to be done.”
Convener Craig Fotheringham, Conservative councillor for Monifieth and Sidlaw, noted budgetary concerns but said: “There is a road safety issue here.
“Arbroath members are saying this needs to be done, the public has spoken.”