MORAY COUNCIL CONVENER Allan Wright has remained unrepentant over his controversial comments that a major traffic snarl up in Elgin this week could have been prevented if a Western Link Road already existed in the town.
A truck carrying North Sea oil industry parts to Aberdeen broke down on the A96 just outside the Elgin Library on Monday, forcing the road to be closed for several hours.
Commenting on the chaos that ensued, Councillor Wright suggested that had the Western Link Road existed the incident would not have happened.
That sparked immediate protests from campaigners against the road plans, who pointed out that the new route was not intended to be a bypass for Elgin – while many others pointed out that it was the type of incident that, in any case, could happen on any road at any given time.
A poll currently being conducted by insideMoray underlines the strong feelings on both sides over the road plans, with just 10% separating rival camps.
Dismissing the outcry to his comments Councillor Wright said: “I still believe the Western Link Road will alleviate problems such as this week’s traffic jam.
“I think the lorry would have probably taken the link road, but even if it had used the A96 it would have been simple to redirect the affected traffic along the link road, lessening the tailbacks.”
Earlier this week on the insideMoray Facebook page local SNP councillor Graham Leadbitter described Cllr Wright’s comments as “utterly ludicrous”.
Cllr Leadbitter said: “Regardless of whether people think the Link Road is good or bad I will make the point that the position set out by Allan Wright on the back of a broken down lorry is utterly ludicrous.
“The Western Link Road – good or bad – is not a bypass for the A96, so the suggestion that the lorry may not have been there is just nonsense. Why would an abnormal load be re-directed down Wittet Drive over a new bridge and onto Edgar Road?
“On the other suggestion that if a Western Link Road had been in place and all traffic diverted down it while the lorry was moved – would that not have totally overloaded an already very busy Edgar Road, especially at the roundabouts near Asda – and just brought a different bit of Elgin to a standstill?”
However, Cllr Leadbitter made it clear he had no wish to push anyone in one camp or the other over the issue, adding: “I’m not aiming to push people one way or another with this point but please consider the Link Road issue without this irrelevant rubbish off the back of an unfortunate breakdown in an unfortunate location.
“Sometimes things just happen that are pain. There are far more relevant arguments on both sides of the Link Road debate to consider.”
Readers have a last chance to have their say today in our online poll on the right of this page.