TRAFFIC chaos has descended on Forfar with the closure of the West Port traffic lights, and the new traffic system operating in St James Road, writes Janet Thomson.
Early morning commuters have been left fuming as they try to negotiate the road system across town.
Add in Strathmore Primary School, residents’ parking in St James Road and yet another set of traffic lights at the foot of Coutties Wynd and it has created utter frustration and the risk of “road rage” for those trying to get to their work.
One office worker contacted the “Dispatch” office on Tuesday morning after she was caught up in the traffic chaos, sitting in her car for 20 minutes as she watched lorries, cars, tractors and buses become completely snarled up in St James Road.
She stated: “Only in Forfar can you have a set of traffic lights now operating in St James Road for the new Asda store, which isn’t even open yet, and the West Port closed.
“It was an absolute shambles this morning.
“The West Port is going to be shut for seven weeks so all the cars are coming up Dundee Loan and trying to turn into St James Road, but you just can’t get through St James Road.
“This morning there were lorries, tractors, school buses - everything - it was ridiculous.
“There were cars parked. People need to be able to park outside their houses, but it was completely grid-locked for 20 minutes. It could only be Forfar. I was so annoyed and was so late for work as I had to sit in a queue.
“We will have this for seven weeks which will take us up to Christmas and the bad weather, it’s unbelievable.
“It would normally take me five minutes to get to work in the morning; once I get into St James Road I am one minute to the car park.
“This morning when I got into St James Road the queue coming up Dundee Loan was down to the Victoria Bar.
“It was horrendous; it’s just wrong to have the Asda traffic lights now working when the store isn’t open yet, in such a close proximity to the West Port. When Asda opens there will be lorries delivering to the store, people dropping kids off at school in the bad weather, so many people stressed that they will be late for work and their kids will be late for school.”
Motorists in Forfar certainly aren’t having their sorrows to seek at the moment with additional work on-going in Roberts Street at the junction with North Street, which also caused snarl ups yesterday morning.
On Monday evening the closure of the West Port junction caught numerous motorists unawares, with many having to do a u-turn outside the Police station before heading up New Road and then along St James Road as they attempted to travel west-wards through the town.
At the time of going to press on Tuesday (yesterday), a spokesperson for Angus Council called for “the patience and co-operation of motorists” while these essential works are completed.
She said: “There are essential major works currently being undertaken in the centre of Forfar, as was widely publicised in advance.
“West High Street will be closed for three weeks for road resurfacing, signal refurbishment and public utility works, after which there will be various lane closures as the works are completed.
“Mainlaying works by Scotland Gas networks at St James Road/Coutties Wynd/ Academy Street have required temporary traffic lights during the week of the works. This work is expected to be completed tomorrow mid-day (October 26).
“The new sets of traffic lights, designed to provide safe crossing points in St James Road, have been activated ahead of the Asda store opening early next month.”
As for parking in St James Road, she added: “Angus Council is promoting a Traffic Regulation Order to introduce additional double yellow line waiting restrictions on both sides of St James Road, extending westwards from New Road up to just past Reid Park Road.
“The Order has been advertised, however objections have been received and as such a decision on the matter will require to be made by Infrastructure Services committee on November 22, 2011. The lines, if approved, will be marked as soon as possible after that decision.
“We will liaise with Tayside Police regarding the traffic situation in the area.”
The work at the West Port junction involves replacing the existing traffic signals and associated cable ducting as well as carriageway and footway works on all four approaches to the junction. A road closure will be in place for at least two weeks from the junction to the West High Street car park.