Traffic chaos sparks recriminations over Elgin link road

Gridlocked - A96 was blocked for over two hours
Gridlocked – A96 was blocked for over two hours

ELGIN WAS BROUGHT to a standstill when a lorry carrying an abnormal load through the town broke down – and caused a stretch of the A96 to be completely closed.

A burst hydraulic pipe was blamed for sparking the problem for motorists when a Cadzow Haulage vehicle carrying offshore oil drilling equipment halted just outside the Elgin Library at around 2.40pm.

Police were called as the road became gridlocked almost immediately – and were forced to halt traffic while a recovery operation progressed for almost two hours, with the road eventually cleared at 4.30pm.

A spokesman for the company said it was an incident that could have happened to any vehicle, adding: “As we are down near Glasgow we contacted a company in Aberdeen to see about repair, they arranged for a local Elgin company to mend the vehicle.

“The Elgin firm was very responsive and we can’t thank these guys enough.”

Last night Moray Council’s Convener, Allan Wright, insisted it was an incident that would likely have never happened had the controversial Western Link Road plans been in place.

Saying that the lorry would most likely not have been travelling through that part of Elgin, Councillor Wright added that incidents of this nature promoted the case for the road – which is expected to return to planners later this year.

“I would think that residents who are firmly opposed to the development are unlikely to be swayed on the matter,” he said, adding: “But those people who are not firmly in one camp or the other may be influenced by incidents such as this.”

His claims were dismissed, however, by one of the leaders behind the campaign to halt the creation of a Western Link Road. Jim Wiseman said that incidents of this nature were “the exception rather than the rule” and did not constitute in themselves a reason for building a new road.