New calls for bollards to be removed

A COLLISION on Commercial Road early Saturday morning has prompted campaigners to put their foot down and put pressure on the local authority to remove the offending traffic calming measure which has been unpopular with motorists over the years.

This comes a year after the Times reported on local efforts to have the bollards removed and replaced with speed cushions.

Ness Circle resident and Driving Instructor, Terrence Graham won a four-year battle with Aberdeenshire Council last February to remove the traffic calming measure which he has long claimed could cause a serious accident. It was agreed by members at the Formartine Area Committee that only the north build-out, which leads onto Ness Circle be replaced with speed cushions due to the number of accidents recorded.

Although there was victory for the north build-out,the south was to stay, much to Mr Graham’s annoyance. In a previous article, the driving instructor of more than 30 years said: “The bottom island is on the wrong side - you cannot see past the parking area, that has cars, vans and caravans usually blocking visibility. It should be on the other side of the road.”

He spoke to the Times this week after the recent smash. “I stick by with what I have said from the onset, the island is on the wrong side! Everyone continues to talk to me about the bollards, and the collision at the weekend reemphasises that there is a problem and the south island needs to be removed also.”

Mr Graham also commented on the replaced north build-out: “They have now placed the speed cushions on a bend - this is dangerous! I have already seen motorists drive in the centre of the road or position their cars in a way that when the winter weather arrives, accidents are inevitable.”

After reading the article in December 2009 and having had complaints from nearby residents, SNP Councillor Rob Merson decided to take action with Mr Graham. Cllr Merson contacted the Roads Engineer at the beginning of the year, which led to a meeting in January with officials, including Grampian Police.

February 2010 saw the authority announce that the north chicane build-out was to be replaced. Aberdeenshire Council have recently removed this and are now in the process of replacing it with speed cushions.

Following from the collision at the weekend, Cllr Merson said: “I am sorry to hear that there has been another accident involving this ‘safety’ measure. Following concerns which were reported some time ago, I was happy to assist constituents with their request for the removal of the build-outs. It was agreed by the Formartine Area Committee that the northmost one, which was the locus for a number of accidents, should in the first instance be replaced with speed cushions, and that work was completed by the Roads Department.

“I have never been keen on traffic calming measures which forces vehicles on a collision course with oncoming traffic and, in the light of this accident, I have now pressed for the reassessment and replacement of the remaining build-out.

“However, in the meantime, I would urge all motorists to exercise caution and vigilance when approaching such obstacles - it is for drivers to ensure that they are driving at speeds which are appropriate for the prevailing road conditions.”

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said there will be a routine assessment of the site following the accident.

He said: “Ness Circle is a 20mph zone and speed cushions were installed to reduce speeds on the road and further improve safety. “This is the first reported accident at the site and fortunately there were no injuries, but motorists should remember to drive to road conditions and at appropriate speeds.

“It would cost the council in the region of £5,000 to remove the build-out, money which could be spent on other road safety improvements in the area and we would have to be sure that this would contribute to road safety.”