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.
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.