Transport experts have identified a priority list of issues that could ease Nairn’s regular traffic gridlock.
Most of the snarl-ups are blamed on eight sets of traffic lights on the main road through town.
Local councillors are hoping the exercise will help ease the traffic problems that were exacerbated by the addition of three more sets of lights when Sainsbury’s was built.
The agency has cited a slow “green man” time at the Sainsbury’s lights, faded road markings at the A96/A939 junction, road surface deterioration and faded road markings at the Lochloy Road junction, faded markings at the library car park junction, and lights issues at both the Albert Street and Seabank Road junctions with the A96.
Graeme Low, the agency’s north area manager told Nairn councillors: “We are focusing on improving the operation of the Lochloy Road junction as it appears to be the main area of concern. However, we are also planning to introduce improvements at locations throughout the town.
“In addition, it is proposed to introduce a remote monitoring system at all signal controlled junctions on the A96 through Nairn.
“The system will also enable signal timings to be altered remotely although the effect of any alterations would have to be checked through on-site observations.”
Local MSP Fergus Ewing has advised Transport Scotland that the Nairn Access Panel has raised a number of issues regarding the town’s lights.
They include traffic blocking the pedestrian crossing on the A96/Leopold Street junction creating a hazard, insufficient time provided for pedestrians to cross the A96 at the crossing adjacent to the site of the former community centre and the operation of the wheel at the Leopold Street lights to indicate to those with visual impairment when it is safe to cross.
Nairn Provost Laurie Fraser said of the agency’s response: “It’s an ambitious programme of improvements. Only time will tell if it’s going to be effective.
“I predicted this would be a problem during the planning for Sainsbury’s.
“We got four new sets of lights and I queried at the time it would be a disaster for Nairn with these traffic lights. The end result is we still have near gridlock at certain times of the day throughout Nairn.”
Councillor Liz MacDonald said: “We’d like some of the lights removed, particularly the Albert Street ones. But we told Transport Scotland we were willing to wait until after the review had taken place following the corrections at Lochloy lights.
“At least something is happening. What we need, of course, is a bypass.”