Drivers face months of disruption as Falkirk road network undergoes major overhaul

Camelon Main Street is currently subject to major roadworks. Picture: Gary Hutchison
Camelon Main Street is currently subject to major roadworks. Picture: Gary Hutchison

Motorists are facing months of disruption as the district’s road network undergoes a major overhaul.

Latest figures from watchdog the Scottish Road Works Commissioner shows Falkirk Council has approved no fewer than 159 projects.

Substantial work – including raising bridges at Larbert and Redding – to allow rail electrification to be carried out, new traffic lights and roundabout at Earls Gate in Grangemouth, and allowing water and gas pipelines and electricity cables to be upgraded along Camelon Main Street are key parts of the extensive programme.

But they have not come without a cost – and mean delays, diversions and longer journey times for thousands of drivers, which in some cases will last another seven months.

Miles of streets and pavements have been targeted for improvements sparking a flurry of activity to allow minor – and some major – excavations to get under way.

Car owners, bus, taxi and lorry drivers are finding out every day very few areas have escaped the introduction of cones and lights and signs pointing them in a direction they would prefer not to go.

More than 70 road works in Falkirk are scheduled to be finished by tomorrow and another 54 by the end of March. But the bad news is work on some of the improvements already agreed by town hall planners will last until September.

Because of the electrification of the line being rolled out across Scotland by Network Rail, householders in the Redding and Larbert areas are already having to get used to the disruption to the main routes in and out of their village.

Diversions were introduced at the start of the year adding miles and time it takes to complete journeys.

Over the same period residents are beginning to forget how simple it used to be to get out of Camelon with almost the entire length of the Main Street gridlocked at some stage this year as contractors have worked replacing miles of pipes and cables for the utility companies.

On the approaches to the Earls Gate Roundabout in Grangemouth a one-way system has slowed traffic to a crawl at peak times - and is another project engineers will not be finished with until the middle of September.

From simple street repairs that will take a few days to improvements and upgrades to stretches of the district’s A roads and motorway junctions which will take substantially longer, the impact on traffic flows is something every 
motorist will have to get used to in the weeks and months ahead.

The roads works commissioner’s on-line bulletin board which publishes timetables provided by council’s warns: “The impact, location, start and end dates shown are estimates only and no guarantee is given they are accurate.”

Robert McMaster, head of Falkirk Council’s roads and design department, said: “There are number of large infrastructure projects taking place across the Falkirk Council area which will unavoidably cause some disruption.

‘‘Projects include the replacement of two bridge decks as part of Network Rail’s improvement project plus a number of utility company works. The area will benefit considerably from these works in terms of inward investment, more efficient rail linkages, Scottish Water mains replacement and improving roads.”

The council is urging drivers to be patient and says they should carry out a ‘road check’ before travelling.