Fears over tightness of new AHS roundabout

Lerwick Community Council has called for urgent monitoring of traffic at the new Anderson High School roundabout in North Lochside after a member raised safety concerns.

Damien Ristori – himself a bus driver – said that the access to the north side of the roundabout is too tight for two large vehicles to use simultaneously.

The roundabout is being created as part of the project to build a new Anderson High School. Photo: John Coutts
The roundabout is being created as part of the project to build a new Anderson High School. Photo: John Coutts

According to Mr Ristori, who drives for Shetland Islands Council, buses and other large vehicles have to halt or ride the kerb to avoid collision with other large vehicles when they attempt to exit the roundabout heading north as the other enters it heading south.

Mr Ristori said that he had seen vehicles having difficulties negotiating the roundabout, which is due for completion today with the top coat of tar being laid this week when North Lochside was closed to traffic.

He said after Monday’s meeting: “Bus drivers and truck drivers have come to me and everyone is saying ‘it’s too tight, it’s far too tight’. You are having to mount the kerb.

“Even if somebody was to come ‘yundroo’ with another lorry the same size, and you are both pulling out, there is no way in heck you are going to avoid hitting or scraping the other vehicle at that precise moment.

“The kerb is that sharp it’s like an elbow. For a town service size bus or trucks meeting at the same time, there’s just not enough width: one will have to stop or go over the kerb. I have seen that. Even the Tesco’s van must find it annoying.”

According to roads department officials, the roundabout meets all requirements in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, which sets standards for dimensions and other features of roundabouts and the like.

SIC roads engineer Ian Smith, who has been in charge of the roundabout works, said that design staff had been able to successfully negotiate the roundabout in an Autotrack software simulation of the largest road legal HGV’s and professional drivers should have no problem doing the same.

He said that road works signs and cones are possibly cutting room for manoeuvre but these are a temporary feature.

Mr Smith said: “I’m not disputing it’s tight, but it’s not too tight. HGVs and buses can go round without hitting the other carriageway or the kerb.”

• For the full story – and Smirk’s take on the matter – see tomorrow’s Shetland Times.



Add Your Comment
  • Michael Garriock

    • November 5th, 2015 21:58

    Anyone can see its a hellish contraption for certain maneuveres, “not too tight” or otherwise. But no need to fret too much, it’ll only be in use for a limited time.

    Once an “appropriate” interval has passed (and undoubtedly much cursing and a few bent panels) the “upgrade” of the Westerloch road and conversion of the loch path to a full road will be announced, “to provide improved access, and in response to ongoing complaints and safety issues”.

    Same old story from the SIC, bung in something relatively uncontroversial but not fit for purpose, wait for the complaints to amass, then railroad in what they really wanted to do in the first place, but which would have met opposition, as “the only viable choice”. Seen it happen too many times not to see it sticking out a mile here.

  • Rachel Buchan

    • November 5th, 2015 23:57

    Software simulation pahah. I have been in taxis navigating this roundabout, and some of the drivers say it is a fatal accident waiting to happen. They are driving it in real life. I don’t drive, and even I can see it’s dangerous.

  • Jerry McCarthy

    • November 6th, 2015 11:27

    Any chance of a translation of “yundroo”?

  • Alistair Mullay

    • November 6th, 2015 11:52

    The bus problem is the same as with the Sound roundabout. Buses have a considerable front overhang. When exiting the roundabout, in order to clear the nearside kerb, the front overhang ends up partly in the oncoming lane. The computer obviously doesn’t take this into account. After the Sound roundabout was built I took two council officials in a bus and demonstrated this problem. Obviously the computer knows better.

  • Ryan Arthur

    • November 6th, 2015 13:59

    I wonder how much it cost to do this computer ‘simulation’ compared with just asking a few bus and truck drivers? Its tight in a car, never mind an HGV.

  • Gary McMillan

    • November 6th, 2015 20:51

    Council Engineers could have got it wrong, simulation program is all very well, but they have been wrong before.
    Couldn’t build a helipad big enough for a helicopter that is based locally. Might have been an idea to have asked how big a chopper is and build a pad big enough.
    I drive an HGV on occasion and did think the north exit of the new roundabout looked a little tight. Small island looks like it will catch wheels.
    But I could be wrong

  • Sandy McMillan

    • November 6th, 2015 22:36

    It will be nothing new for the SIC to get it totally wrong It seems every thing they touch seem to go wrong Take for instance the new Helipad they were only 5meters out that is only but one.

    • Brian Smith

      • November 7th, 2015 17:13

      What an idiotic statement. Go to the Library, on a ferry, to the social care department, the assessors, the registrar, or to housing – to name a few – and you will find that things usually go like clockwork. Of course there are mistakes from time to time, but that’s a different matter. Do engage your brain before commenting, Mr M.

      • Michael Garriock

        • November 8th, 2015 19:01

        “….or to housing – to name a few – and you will find that things usually go like clockwork.”

        Ha, ha, ha!

        Such sarcasm is almost amusing. It would be highly surprising if the person authoring it is, or has been a “client” of such services in quite a long time.

        You’re not necessarily wrong per se. Things no doubt “go like clockwork” as long as a client maintains a “Yes, Sir. No, Sir. Three bags full Sir” attitude regardless of what crap they churn out, and jumps through every hoop they hold up exactly when and how they’re told. However, any expectation of receiving an ongoing service or of holding them accountable for their obligations, swings between pulling hen’s teeth and World War III, that’s if you can get past their stonewalling and diversionary tactics.

        You have many “paid up and card carrying” working in the Library, on the ferries, in the social care department, assessors, registrars or housing, Brian?

      • Brian Smith

        • November 9th, 2015 11:00

        Well, I have been a ‘client’ of Housing for forty years, so I know a little about the subject. I don’t depend on the Daily Mail for my information about public services.

      • Michael Garriock

        • November 10th, 2015 2:35

        Brian, You’re going to have to tell the rest of us how to go about accessing this apparently “superior” service from Housing, that keeps you singing their praises after so long.

        I have had the misfortune of having a very painful relationship with them for seventeen years, it started of very mediocrely unremarkable and has gone down hill ever since, these last 3 1/2 years especially, it has plummeted in free fall, with no sign of bottoming out for the foreseeable future either.

        I would love to publish a detailed list of all of their antics and breaches over those years, but have been advised that it would not be appropriate to do so while the option that I instigate legal proceedings against them for their behaviours remains open.

        As for the Daily Fail, I have never opened one in the last half century, and do not envisage that changing in the half century to come.

      • Brian Smith

        • November 10th, 2015 13:25

        My advice is, drop all the rhetoric about World War 3, etc.

  • Colin McKearney

    • November 7th, 2015 12:57

    Whoever drew the plans for this monstrosity should never again design anything , whole thing is a total misshapen mess. Computer simulation my ar*se.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • November 7th, 2015 15:07

    Nothing wrong with this roundabout, the problem is with drivers who have no idea. I followed a low loader through coming northbound and not a problem, you could get a sixty foot extended trailer through with room to spare. All the pleepsers on here should take a trip to the magic roundabout in Swindon especially those who masquerade as professional drivers.

  • Alistair Mullay

    • November 7th, 2015 19:51

    I’ve been on the town service all day. I have to say that it’s ok. The north exit is tight but manageable. Certainly better than the Sound roundabout.

  • Ian Halcrow

    • November 7th, 2015 21:05

    I will own up to having worked for the Councils Roads service before I retired. So why don’t designers just add a good bit of extra width and be done with it? The answer is safety. The most important safety issue of a roundabout is making drivers slow down. The raised brick area gives drivers two choices; slow down and drive around it, or slow down to go up over the bump on to the brick area. That area is needed for large vehicles to get around, but if it were all just smooth bitmac then some drivers would zoom through much faster than is safe.

    The South Lochside roundabout is generally wider, having been designed to an earlier standard. Its early accident record was poor until its approaches were altered to reduce conflicts. That did improve its accident record, although it’s still not brilliant. On the other hand the accident record of Sound roundabout is good, and I have no reason to think that this new roundabout will be any different. Oh, and now it is complete, there is a video on Facebook showing an arctic lorry travelling south to north through the roundabout, apparently without any problem.

  • David Spence

    • November 8th, 2015 21:26

    I fully agree with Ian H. I have seen cars going far too fast at the roundabouts at the Co-op and at Bolts when there is no other vehicles around. The roundabouts in question are just, in affect, painted onto the road. There are no physical barriers to slow down the traffic at these locations. Yes, there are similar roundabouts elsewhere in Lerwick, but these roundabouts force traffic to slow down due to the design of the road/junction (the one at the top of Church Road).

    As Ian has said, you cannot always get it perfect straight away, but as more information comes in, I am sure the Council will change the design of the roundabout nearer the time the new school is being built or is completed.

  • iantinkler

    • November 9th, 2015 10:27

    For goodness sake, it is just a roundabout. Now get real, try driving in London, Paris or Aberdeen, talk about a load of fuss about nothing, if you can not manage this perhaps you are best off the road.

  • Robert Duncan

    • November 10th, 2015 15:16

    How utterly depressing that, in a week where at least three Shetland organisations and individuals won national awards, this constitutes front page news.


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