New 50mph speed limit on main road through Girlsta

Traffic at one of Shetland’s worst accident blackspots, Girlsta, is to be slowed to 50mph.

The recommendation comes after an extensive review of speed limits on the A and B-class roads by council road engineers.

Nine accidents involving injury have occurred there since 2000, mainly near the junction with Wad­bister and the most northerly Girlsta junction. The stretch in between has seen fewer accidents since “no overtaking” double white lines were painted.

The attention of the police is to be drawn to the fact that the Tingwall valley road is popular with drink-drivers – a trend discovered due to the number of accidents there.

Investigations are to be carried out into improving a series of bends north of Kalliness, where seven accidents with injuries have occurred since 2000, and to look at what could be done on the stretch between the Laxo and Tagon junctions at Voe – the scene of seven accidents with injuries – and the road between Toft and the Mossbank junction where people have been injured in four accidents by going off at a bend.

Council engineers will also mon­itor the main road north of Cunnings­burgh to the Fladdabister junction when it has snowed to see if it can be made better.

The speed limits study was ordered six years ago by the Scottish government and was to have been done by 2011. But the council said it did not have the spare resources to do the work.

None of the roads in Lerwick, Scalloway or Brae were required to be included in the study and neither were junctions.

The engineers analy­sed 167 “link sections” of roads, such as roads between junctions or up to settlements. A total of 59 acci­dents with injuries were associated with the link sections over the last three years.

When the report was discussed at the environment and transport com­mittee on Wednesday, councillor George Smith was disappointed to learn that the council, in common with all the others in Scotland, oper­ates a policy of reacting to accidents rather than trying to prevent them.

Infrastructure executive director Phil Crossland said spending money to address “community fear rather than proven history” of accidents would mean it had to be removed from other areas of road spending.

Mr Smith was disappointed noth­ing was being proposed to make the road through Quarff safer while council leader Gary Robinson said he had been calling for crash barriers near Kalliness for five years.

Mr Crossland said there had been up to 150 requests for safety improve­ments which were being put into a priority list before being brought before councillors early in the new year.

Councillor Drew Ratter caused some mirth when he said the council had once imposed a speed limit so short that the back of an artic truck had not entered the zone by the time the front end emerged. That was the infamous 30mph limit at the Swedish Houses in Weisdale, which road engineer Colin Gair said was the shortest speed limit in the UK at less than one-tenth of a mile before it was scrapped.


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