SHOPPERS AT MORAY’S largest centre could face serious disruption for at least another week – as a local councillor is pointing to the chaos and linking it to the now scrapped West Link Road plans.
Scottish Water are carrying out what are being described as “very detailed and difficult” repairs to drainage on Edgar Road just at the roundabout to the Asda superstore.
insideMoray reported on Saturday how shoppers were often being held up in the store car park for over an hour and a half as they tried to exit onto the busy junction – while store staff have desperately attempted to control the flow of traffic and ensure the safety of their customers.
Our report sparked a torrent of responses from not only Asda customers but those of other shops in the area, with hundreds of our readers giving their views on what has been described as “anarchy in the centre of Elgin”.
Scottish Water have apologised but pointed out that the work on a sewage system was absolutely vital and “very complicated”, saying that they expect to works to continue until May 8.
Meanwhile, Moray councillor John Cowe, who is chair of the economic development and infrastructure services committee at the local authority, warned that Elgin faces a great deal more chaos in future as a result of the West Link Road plans being scuppered in the Council chamber.
He wrote: “Just as well it did not coincide with the level crossing being closed for up to 10 days this September/October. Four thousand houses planned for north and south of Elgin and three further primary schools will see another 6000 cars using a roundabout that is already at 103% of its capacity – and certain Councillors blindly ignoring the facts that lie before them.
“The Western Link Road and Bridge was a plan for the future of Elgin and Moray’s economy, it was a spend to save and had a substantial cost ratio benefit to Elgin’s future growth.
“The infrastructure of Elgin’s road system badly needs addressing and the longer it is ignored and rejected, the worse it will become.”
However, last night one of the leading campaigners against the West Link Road rejected Councillor Cowe’s fears, saying that going ahead with the road would have done nothing to stop repairs of this nature causing issues for shoppers.
Moray Green’s convener James MacKessack-Leitch said: “It seems every time there’s a traffic jam in Elgin some people jump up and down proposing the rejected Western Link Road as some sort of magic bullet – and that’s utter nonsense.
“The Western Link Road would have done nothing to stop Scottish Water repairing their infrastructure and halting traffic – but it would have been an unaffordable fudge.”
“What we actually need is better handling of the inevitable accidents and roadworks when they happen, combined with a proportionate and sustainable long term plan for traffic management in Elgin, and a decentralised approach to development that benefits wider Moray.”