West Lothian Council has received a potential allocation of funding of over £342,000 from Transport Scotland for casualty reduction projects. The funding seeks to build upon the successes of all Scottish road authorities and partners in achieving casualty reduction targets.
West Lothian Council Executive has agreed to submit an application to Transport Scotland for funding approval to develop road safety improvement works at the junction between the A801 and the A706 Avon Gorge in West Lothian.
The future works would involve the installation of traffic signals at this junction, located at the top of the Avon Gorge, to reduce the number of casualties that have been highlighted through the council's Accident Investigation and Prevention (AIP) programme.
In 2021/22 there were five accidents recorded at this junction. Evidence highlighted a clear failure to give way and loss of control at this junction.
Executive councillor for the Environment Tom Conn said: "The recommended installation of traffic signals will reduce speed on the A706 around the low radius bend and also provide suitable time, with no give way conflicts, for vehicles travelling southbound from the A801 and the A706. Our road safety officers assessed that the current failure to give way and loss of control accidents should be considerably reduced as traffic signals will control the movements of all traffic at this junction.
"Furthermore, by reducing accidents at this junction it will reduce the negative impact on the surrounding road network such as emergency road closures, considerable diversion routes and increased traffic through towns and villages such as Linlithgow, Torphichen, Westfield and areas of Falkirk Council.
"This funding is very welcomed and there is more work that our officers need to carry out with Transport Scotland. However I think motorists that use the Avon Gorge will appreciate that these works will bring safety improvements. It's important that when we introduce road safety measures they are installed in locations where they have the biggest impact in terms of accident prevention. The evidence highlights that this is an area that will benefit from road safety measures."
Gordon Brown, the council's Roads and Transportation Manager, said: "Now that road safety funding has become available from Transport Scotland we will seek to improve this road junction within the West Lothian boundary.
"Although there is currently plans for a cross boundary strategic project being developed for major road improvements across the Avon Gorge with Falkirk Council and Transport Scotland, the majority of the Avon Gorge project sits within the Falkirk Council boundary. However this casualty reduction scheme is independent and will reduce road casualties on the local road network in West Lothian. It will continue to do so in the future when these major improvements are in place, however this could be a number of years until the new bridge is complete and open to traffic."