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Temporary lights on the A96 leaves motorists in lengthy tailbacks

Traffic on the A96  between Inverness and Nairn.
Traffic on the A96 between Inverness and Nairn.

Motorists and commuters on the A96 were left victim to another unscheduled batch of temporary traffic lights being suddently put in place without notification – this time for repairs to the collapse of a manhole on the route.

The unmanned traffic lights were erected at the junction of the A96 Inverness to Nairn road by Openreach shortly before rush hour yesterday, leaving many motorists frustrated and stuck in lengthy tailbacks.

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The incident came just days after a similar incident left motorists and commuters fuming after being trapped in lengthy tailbacks along the trunk road due to another set of temporary traffic measures remaining in place – but with no works taking place.

Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart last night spoke of his outrage over to the lack of communication between Openrach and Bear Scotland which led to the incident.

He said: “I learned from Bear Scotland that in fact Openreach had discovered through the night that a manhole cover at this location looked likely to collapse and they set up the temporary traffic lights. This utility company did not advise Bear Scotland and they did not have the temporary lights manned through peak rush hour.

“First of all I am content that the lights were set up in good faith for a valid and urgent reason, but communication with the operating company clearly did not happen, or indeed anyone else including the media.

“There did not appear to be warnings of tail backs likely given to the motoring public.

“Had Bear Scotland been informed of this incident they would have ensured that the temporary lights were manned during rush hour.”

The temporary signal is set to remain in operation until the manhole chamber can be made safe.

A spokesman for BEAR Scotland said: “We were notified this morning of emergency temporary traffic lights which had been put in place for safety after BT Openreach identified a chamber which was susceptible to collapse in the road.

“We have been in liaison with BT Openreach since the lights were installed to request that the signals are manually operated during peak traffic times to help minimise delays while they complete the emergency repairs, as well as to provide advance warning to the public through adequate channels.

“Their team has explained that the temporary traffic lights will remain in place until the chamber can be made safe.”

An Openreach spokesperson said: “Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We only carry out traffic management when it is essential, but we’re investigating the specific circumstances.”

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