By Kirsty Topping
TRANSPORT chiefs plan to spend 9.5 million building 63 overhead road signs on a stretch of road just 13 miles long.
The move means there will be a sign for every 330 metres of the route leading towards the new Forth crossing, at a cost of 150,000 each.
Transport Scotland says the signs, to be sited on the approach road to a new Forth crossing, are an essential part of the 1.5 billon project, but critics have said they will only distract drivers.
MSPs on both sides of the river have questioned the need for so many sign on such a short stretch of road.
Labour MSP for Cowdenbeath, Helen Eadie, has written to transport minister Keith Brown and tabled a motion at Holyrood calling for a reduction in the number of gantries.
A contract for works on the first part of the
“intelligent transport system’, involving 17 gantries, is expected to be awarded at the end of this month at an estimated cost of up to 22 million.
“I’m four-square behind the need for a new bridge – I was campaigning for a new crossing before anyone else- and I understand the purpose of the gantries, slowing down the traffic, but I’m not persuaded we need as many as this, especially when we are in a desperate financial situation.
“If I were the roads minister I would be saying we must rethink this. At a time when people are having their health services cut, we have to be very careful about our priorities. “
Lothians Labour MSP Neil Findlay also expressed concern about the number of gantries and warned that they could potentially distract drivers with a number of messages.
“There is a balance to be struck. Public information notices can be of vital importance, such as
“There will be six inches of snow in an hours time, get yourself home.” That would have been helpful last winter.
“But if they start using it for advertising or if everyone is going to have a different message it is going to become distracting. It certainly has got the potential to cause problems if they are used inappropriately.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said:
“The Forth Replacement Crossing Intelligent Transport System is essential to the effective operation of the new crossing and will deliver significant benefits for cross-Forth travel by improving safety, journey time reliability and incident management.
“Using this technology also eliminates the need for further expensive widening of existing roads.
“The system will consist of a number of overhead signal gantries providing lane and speed control information to road users, the design and locations of which have been determined by national legal standards for safety and network operation. “