Alarm raised on fears of chaos to come in Grangemouth

Earlsgate Roudabout is already a busy route
Earlsgate Roudabout is already a busy route

A local roundabout is on the road to “traffic chaos” if measures are not put in place to deal with major problems soon.

That’s the view of Grangemouth councillor Robert Spears, who fears traffic levels at the town’s Earlsgate Roundabout and adjoining access roads will become unmanageable when the new Earl’s Road Asda distribution depot opens later this year.

HGV deliveries to and from the site - expected to number as many as 500 per day - and the large number of staff driving to work, will cause headaches for an already under-pressure road network, according to Councillor Spears.

He said: “The council is waiting to see if it can get the money in place for improvement works, but they are forging ahead regardless without a long-term management plan in place. What you are going to have here shortly is absolute chaos.

“We cannot keep developing the town without having the infrastructure in place.”

Concerns over increased traffic levels at the roundabout are nothing new. In August last year Grangemouth Community Council expressed major misgivings when Asda announced it was going to build its depot on the former ICI Social Club site.

A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “A traffic assessment was submitted with the Asda planning application, detailing the works required in terms of road access. We anticipate the majority of the traffic movements from the development will take place outwith peak times with site staff entering and exiting the site via Forth and Clyde Way and HGV movements via Earls Road.

“The developer has made a contribution of nearly £400,000 towards works to improve junctions in the vicinity of the site and design work is being commissioned.”

Traffic calming measures reportedly being considered include traffic signals on the M9 off ramp at Glensburgh Road and Forth Clyde Way; localised widening of approaches to Earlsgate interchange; and localised widening of the circulating carriageway of Earlsgate Roundabout with traffic signals placed at all approaches.

It is not just Earlsgate Roundabout which could be heading for traffic trouble - future plans from the Helix development to install a lifting bridge over the River Carron between Glensburgh Road and Skinflats started alarm bells ringing for Falkirk Council planners at a site visit last October.

At the time, committee members, including convener Billy Buchanan and Councillor Malcolm Nicol, questioned the viability of placing such a bridge on the Glensburgh Road when it would cause major tailbacks as motorists wait for boats to sail past and the bridge to lower.