The Courier

Kids dicing with death on ‘nightmare’ walk to school

Children from Redmyre School.

Pupils and parents in the Mearns have been left dicing with death on a “nightmare” school journey, it has been claimed.

Earlier this summer, Aberdeenshire Council introduced a one-way system at the 169-year-old Abbeyton Bridge, near Fordoun to allow engineers to examine major defects but the 169-year old bridge is in such a poor state it poses a “danger” to the rail line passing below, and the bridge was closed.

Parents at nearby Redmyre primary school in Fordoun say their concerns about increased traffic since the closure, and the impact this has had getting their children to school have fallen on deaf ears.

Some parents and pupils have stopped taking the route and have slammed the local authority for failing to provide temporary crossings and other measures.

One parent, Christine Watson, daughter of the late Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said: “Since the bridge has closed, there has been a massive increase in traffic on the school route, including HGVs and speeding cars.

“A nearby industrial unit has a shift change at 3pm as well, which doesn’t help.

© Paul Smith
Christine Watson.

“There are often a lot parked cars on the route, and this, combined with the fact the pavement is really narrow is making the trip to school a nightmare.

“There are around 73 children at the school, and up to half of them walk or bike to school, so something needs to be done urgently to address this.

“I think the council needs to look at extra signage, a speed limit reduction when children will be going to and from the school, and ideally a staffed crossing point.

“We’ve spoken to a number of elected representatives but we are getting nowhere and if something isn’t done, someone could get seriously hurt or worse.

“It’s simply not good enough for the council to bury its head in the sand over this.”

Another parent and former road policing officer Sophia Sives echoed Mrs Watson’s concerns.

“I used to cycle to school with my three children, but the traffic is at least double what it was previously, but it’s no longer safe to bike.

“It’s a particularly difficult piece of road, as traffic is coming from a 70 mph speed limit straight down to a 30mph limit, so people’s perceptions of speed is impaired.

“I emailed Councillor George Carr about it, but he just said he would pass it on, but nothing has been done.”

Ewan Wallace, Head of Transportation for Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Having been made aware of the issues a council officer will investigate the situation.”