Shorter pedestrian crossing times could cut tailbacks at an Inverness traffic trouble spot.
New traffic lights have been installed on the B9006 Culloden Road close to the city’s Inshes Roundabout and they will allow the time allowed for pedestrians to be adjusted.
The time limit has been reduced from 15 seconds to five in a bid to stop the build-up of cars stopped at the lights at peak travel times.
But those not so fleet on their feet need worry. An infrared light on the new signal box detects if someone is still on the crossing after the five second period, causing the green man and red traffic lights to stay lit for an extra 10 seconds.
A delay mechanism has also been installed to ensure that pedestrians requesting to cross must wait for a minimum time between every green man, to avoid a stop-start effect on traffic.
This also means more pedestrians will be able to cross in one go.
The new £15,000 lights at the crossing – which connects Beechwood Park to the Inshes Tesco store – were switched on yesterday and will be monitored during the next few days.
The previous lights at the crossing were 18 years old, and the crossing time and delay period built into them could not be adjusted.
Councillor Ken Gowans, Inverness South, said: “This pedestrian crossing has caused some considerable annoyance for some time.
“Instead of having the green man on longer than it needs to be, the green man time will be reduced and the new technology will detect if someone is still on the crossing and extend the time if needed.
“Once someone has requested to stop, the red light comes on immediately, but the trouble is that if someone else presses it, the traffic has to stop again. It’s causing the traffic flow to be intermittent and leads to tailbacks which have been known to come back onto the A9 dual carriageway.
“The more modern lights will leave the flow of traffic to be unhindered.
“This is all part of a very holistic solution to the whole problem, which will come from the East Link project.”
The new lights are being paid for by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), whose brand new campus will inevitably increase traffic in the area.