VIDEO: Avonbridge children’s safety paramount due to detour

Concerned parents in Avonbridge are so worried about the volume of traffic going along their streets they have formed their own school crossing patrol.

Their safety fears came after the closure of the Avon Gorge saw vehicles diverted through the village.

Picture: Michael Gillen

Picture: Michael Gillen

The bridge closure on Wednesday, March 21 means drivers face an eight mile diversion which passes through Avonbridge.

Parents of youngsters from Avonbridge Primary School took to Facebook yesterday to express their concerns about the volume and speed of traffic.

Their actions saw Falkirk Council install temporary traffic lights today to ensure youngsters arrive at school safely.

Parent Karen Robertson then organised the crossing patrol and contacted Falkirk Council as she believes they are entitled to a temporary crossing.

Picture: Michael Gillen

Picture: Michael Gillen

She said: “I realised how fast vehicles were going and asked for help on Facebook. I reached out to friends, family and the local community.

“Within a couple of hours I got a massive response, it’s obvious everyone feels the same way.

“I bombarded the council with emails and calls as this is an issue that needs to be addressed,”

Karen organised a group of adults to stand and help the children cross safely from 8.30am to 9am and then again after school from 2.50-3.15pm.

“I put a rota up in the local pub to make sure that there was at least one parent on at a time when the kids were crossing.

“It’s not a chance we wanted to take and I knew someone was bound to get hurt.”

Parent Helen Konkol said: “We asked the council to put in a safe crossing system but no one wants to accept responsibility.”

“They only care about businesses and people getting to work.

“Yes, they’ve assured the community that they’re providing the quickest diversion and most efficient route but they have yet to put anything into place for school crossings which will inevitably be affected.”

“It’s a complete nightmare.”

The council initially told Karen that they didn’t fit the criteria for a temporary crossing but would send someone out that day to assess the situation.

Councillor James Kerr and Councillor John McLuckie have also seen the situation for themselves.

Councillor Kerr said: “We’ve asked community police to be more vigilant.

“We’re now aware that it’s not just the amount of traffic that passes through but the high speeds vehicles travel at too.

“We understand that repairs need to be done, it’s a necessity, but consideration needs to be taken for the community.”

“Councillor McLuckie said: “The police are hoping to implement mobile speeding guns and also permanent speeding cameras too.

“It’s been an encouraging response so far considering it was only made aware to us this morning.

“We’re hoping for a police patrol at school times too.”

Following their assessment, both councillors assured the parents that a temporary crossing will be put in place for six weeks.

Yesterday, Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald called on Falkirk Council to introduce temporary school crossing patrols in the villages of Avonbridge and Standburn.

He said this would help manage the “significant” increase in traffic for the next five week while the Avon Gorge bridge is closed.

Speaking in Parliament, Angus MacDonald said: “I understand that these repair works have come about as an emergency measure with little prior notice, however given the level of concern which has been raised with me in recent hours regarding three school runs, I must admit that I share those concerns and would appreciate it if Falkirk Council takes any and every possible measure available to it to ensure a solution is found as soon as possible.”

Today pupils of Avonbridge Primary were given a temporary crossing in order to get to school safely.

Karen Robertson said: “This morning there were temporary traffic lights to help manage the crossing and the police also came out last night to assess the situation.

“The council have done everything we’ve asked for.”