A set of temporary traffic lights have been in place on a busy road in Ellon for almost two years, leaving drivers and residents wondering why they are still there.
Construction work near the old Ellon Academy building resulted in a set of old, permanent traffic lights on Golf Road being removed.
There were no plans to reinstate a crossing on the busy road at all until parents and residents pushed back.
As a result, Aberdeenshire Council installed a set of temporary lights in March 2022 to make crossing the road safer for all pedestrians, but particularly the dozens of children using the route to get to school.
After nearly two years, locals have been left wondering how much longer they’ll be in place.
Many have taken to social media to voice their concerns and raise complaints that the lights often get stuck on red, with some describing them as “pointless” and a “hassle”.
Why were the traffic lights removed?
The traffic lights just north of Schoolhill Road were removed while roads leading to a new 40-home development near the old school building were being built.
The temporary lights were installed in a new position further north along Golf Road to help pedestrians and schoolchildren cross the busy road while avoiding the construction works.
During the initial consultation stage, the council’s Formartine Area Committee was told the crossing would be removed as part of the development.
Parents raised concerns over the prospect that the safety feature on Golf Road could be gone for good and not replaced.
While council officials confirmed the lights will be permanently replaced, these temporary lights are just an “interim measure”.
How long will the temporary lights stay there?
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman confirmed that when the development work is complete a new set of permanent lights will be installed.
He said these lights will be a “significant improvement over and above” the original crossing.
The new permanent lights are planned to go in roughly the same spot as the current temporary ones.
In addition, a new path through Caroline’s Well Wood has been completed, providing a link from the north of the town to the centre. A path through McDonald Park is also being created.
The spokesman added: “These new paths will be for the use of pedestrians and cyclists. As such, they will be a significant addition to the active travel infrastructure of the town.
“The new permanent traffic lights, once installed, will also be able to accommodate cyclists where the original lights could not.
“As an interim measure, temporary lights remain in position to allow safe passage for pedestrians, and particularly schoolchildren, across Golf Road.
“This is a necessary measure until the works at Schoolhill and McDonald Park are complete.”
However, the council is not able to give a “firm timescale” for the completion of the development, because much of the work is not in their control.
Council reminds drivers adhering to lights is a ‘legal requirement’
Local Luz Mery said the slow-changing lights are an “accident waiting to happen”.
She explained that some drivers are sat waiting at the red lights for so long, she isn’t surprised they become “desperate” and drive through them.
Even as we’re chatting the traffic starts to build up along the narrow road.
The lights getting stuck on red has been blamed on some drivers “skipping” the red light and driving through, which disrupts the cycle.
Aberdeenshire Council‘s spokesman said this not only results in additional costs to repair, but that the lights default to red for safety reasons.
He added: “We would remind motorists that adhering to these lights is a legal requirement. The lights are there to protect the safety of all road users and contravening the instructions has the potential to put everyone at risk.”