Up to 2,000 lorries a day now rumble through the village of Newton, part of a 20 per cent increase in all traffic since the opening of the Queensferry Crossing in 2017.
Now West Lothian Council roads engineers have agreed to work with the community to find solutions to the problems villagers have faced for a long time – which could see signs and signals to ‘deter’ HGV’s from using the route.
The A904 road which passes through the village is the most direct link between the new crossing and the western direction of the M9.
The village community council made a presentation in March to council officials and councillors calling for a survey. The presentation was attended by Linlithgow ward members, as well as council engineers, Transport Scotland and Police Scotland.
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Linlithgow Local Area Committee has now heard results of the traffic survey.
Roads network manager Gordon Brown revealed that drivers were ignoring the current temporary 20mph but were generally keeping to under 30 while travelling through the village. The number of HGVs using the route was also analysed and found to be 15 per cent of all traffic.
Mr Brown said: “From an engineering point of view 15 per cent doesn’t really stand out as a red flag. Had the figure been 30 or 40 per cent that would have merited further investigation.”
Survey results found that most lorries travelled through the village in the early hours between 4am and 7.30am.
David Armstrong from the village community council said: “This survey has been longed for, for a number of years, so we’re thankful for it.
"What the community has communicated to me is a bit of disbelief probably because we still have no agreement of what the impact the level of traffic in the village is, and the impact that has on the community.”
“It is hard to appreciate how close houses are to the road, 15 per cent may not seem very much but it is 2,000 lorries a day. Do you appreciate what that impact is on the community?”
Mr Brown said the results were similar to traffic levels in small communities on other local A roads.
Mr Armstrong asked: “Are there any plans to monitor the noise of traffic to try to get noise and vibration surveys as lorries go past. That would help.”
Mr Brown said that ad hoc noise surveys would not normally be carried out by Environmental Health, but agreed to raise the question with colleagues. He said vibration surveys would not be carried out.
The report highlighted that after a meeting with local MSP Fiona Hyslop, the Road Haulage Association has agreed to request that operators use the M9 connection directly from the bridge rather than driving through the village.
Mr Brown added that officers will continue to work with the community to see if a trial layout can be developed and tested, to see if this would deter HGVs from using the village.
Chairing the meeting, Cllr Tom Conn said it was important to consider the council survey a start, rather than an end of a search for solutions.