Pressure is growing on the Scottish Government to remove traffic lights in Nairn which are being blamed for the town’s worsening gridlock.
Residents have long seen red over the impact of additional lights – there are now eight sets within the short stretch of the A96 Inverness-Aberdeen road – as part of planning conditions for a Sainsbury’s store built three years ago.
A senior Highland councillor has now added her voice to the chorus of dissent.
The council’s Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey area leader Liz MacDonald said that the lights were added for pedestrian safety, but she has received a huge number of complaints about the resulting traffic delays.
She said: “It would be a good start to get rid of the Albert Street lights or at least get them changed to pedestrian-operated. I’ve spoken to MSP Fergus Ewing about this and I know he is pushing for it as well.
“If there are roadworks, breakdowns or accidents it snarls up very quickly, so what we really need is a bypass.
“Although it’s a big issue, the response isn’t getting through to Transport Scotland or (Transport Minister) Keith Brown because when we raised it with them they’re saying it’s the first time it’s come up.
“But I know that the community councils have been making representation. If anyone contacts me, I ask if they want me to pass it on to Transport Scotland and Keith Brown.
“However, I think people should go to them directly and complain because that’s the only way the message is going to get through.”
Tommy Hogg, chairman of River Community Council, agreed that the Albert Street lights should be scrapped, but went further.
He said: “It would also be worth trying without the Seabank Road lights. Switch them off and let’s just see.”
Mr Ewing declined to comment on the issue.
Transport Scotland is currently working with Highland councillors and officials to solve the problem.
A spokesman said: “This partnership approach has led to Transport Scotland undertaking work on the signals at Lochloy Road, Albert Street and Seabank Road.
“Our operating company Bear Scotland will also be in Nairn in early September for further monitoring and reviewing of the traffic signals.”
The Scottish Government has pledged to dual the entire A96 Inverness-Aberdeen link by 2030.
Ministers are due to announce their preferred route next month and have the necessary land purchases signed and sealed by 2016.