Speed change at Ellon bypass approved by councillors

Councillors have backed plans to keep a reduced speed limit on a busy north-east road in place despite the fact it could be lowered again in the future.

By Kirstie Topp, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 7:19 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 7:19 am
The change in limit was brought forward earlier due to the increase in accidents.
The change in limit was brought forward earlier due to the increase in accidents.

The Ellon bypass has been a concern for a number of years because of the number of accidents that have occurred and reports of motorists speeding.

Aberdeenshire Council had carried out several traffic surveys on the A948 Ellon to Auchnagatt road and following discussions with Police Scotland agreed to reduce the limit to 50mph in April 2020.

Members of the Formartine Area Committee considered the permanent speed change on Tuesday, March 22.

At the meeting it was revealed that the speed limit was always planned to be lowered down to 50mph following the opening of the new cemetery on the outskirts of Ellon.

However the change in limit was brought forward earlier due to the increasing number of accidents on the busy stretch of road.

Councillor Gillian Owen welcomed the report and said: “I understand that it was built as a bypass therefore it was made to be a faster road, but I just believe that they shouldn’t be speeding as much as they are.”

She suggested that the limit could be reduced further on parts of the road following the opening of the new cemetery.

Councillor Owen said: “My understanding was that it would be reduced in speed purely on the basis that the movements would be much slower and actually would have a good impact in terms of reducing the speed limit totally.

“I would consider we need to have a look at that perhaps again once the cemetery is about to be opened because I can’t see hearses going 50mph anyway and at the same time I think we could be actually creating another issue.”

She was told that the 50mph would not be changed “unless there was a number of accidents which indicated there was an issue”.

Councillor Louise McAllister also supported the permanent change and said: “I use the bypass all the time and I would say that the traffic speed seems to be calmer, even if people don’t exactly stick to the 50mph they’re certainly not exceeding 60mph whereas when it was 60mph they were doing 70mph.

“I think it is hugely beneficial and I think absolutely we should keep it in place.”

A statutory consultation process will now be carried out and should no objections be received the 50mph limit will become permanent.

Over the years local politicians and Ellon residents had contacted Aberdeenshire Council to voice their worries over speeding traffic and accidents along the bypass.

In May 2019 a woman was seriously injured after a crash at the junction with Knockothie Crescent.

Just two months later north-east teacher and mum-of-two Yvonne Lumsden died after her family’s car collided with a trailer on the bypass.

Another seven crashes were recorded on the road between 2017 and 2021, four of which were caused by drivers either driving too fast for road conditions or speeding over the limit.