Road improvement fund to priorities West Lothian accident hotspots

West Lothian Council will spend almost £300,000 on road safety in the next year, with priority given to roads where accidents have previously happened.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 7:00 am
Stock photo by Michael Gillen.

A total of 19 sites with potential for improvements have been identified, but only 15 sites will benefit from the total £280,000 budget – and the scheme will do little to address issues and fears raised by many people about dangerous roads and speeding.

At its meeting before the summer recess, the council Executive heard a report from roads network manager Gordon Brown identifying sites in need of safety improvements following accident statistics.

The report stressed that the Accident Investigation and Prevention programme (AIP) had to rely on evidence of accidents rather than perceptions of danger.

However, both Conservative and SNP councillors have argued in the last year for a move away from the reliance on accidents statistics as the guide for spending on road improvement.

And, at the Environment PDSP in June, Mr Brown’s Report said: “It was raised that this programme should take into consideration public and community concerns to treat locations where there is a perception that areas are unsafe.

"It would not be appropriate to invest funding in locations where there is a perception that a location is considered unsafe when there is no data orevidence to confirm this is the case.”

The work that will be carried out includes junctions on mostly B roads across the county, with some in town centre locations. Each individual scheme costs between £3,000 and £50,000 and includes works such as improved road drainage, new signage and new road markings.

Among the 15 sites identified for spend in the next year is the B8020 from A904 to Winchburgh, which will get bends warning signs.

Conservative Councillor Chris Horne said: “This is one of the most contentious issues which comes up at my community councils. I have real sympathy for Gordon Brown and his team in terms of the amount of budget versus the perceived need.”

He said it would be helpful if the council could explain in less technical ways as why the sites were chosen for improvements. “The public get very, very concerned about these decisions,” he added.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​