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Call to tackle traffic as Nairn community concerned over crossing

By Federica Stefani

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Locals say despite some measures being in place more needs to be done to improve road safety on the A939. Picture: James Mackenzie
Locals say despite some measures being in place more needs to be done to improve road safety on the A939. Picture: James Mackenzie

A community is urging Highland Council to introduce further traffic calming measures on a busy crossing deemed unsafe by many local residents.

People living near the A939 Nairn to Grantown-on-Spey road have raised concerns about speeding at a school crossing near the road’s junction with the A96.

A speed survey was carried out by Highland Council in May but the local authority has said it will not investigate further as its findings, indicating mean average speeds of 27-31mph, fall within tolerances.

However, the survey did show daily occurrences of speeding including some vehicles travelling at as much as 60mph and one recorded doing more than 80mph, at about 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon.

Nairn River Community Council (NRCC) chairman Hamish Bain, said: “NRCC believes that the A939 crossing is dangerous and deserves measures that have been put in place in other areas to protect our children, our elderly and all our people.”

Mr Bain pointed out issues with the council survey he believes may have skewed results including the inclusion of queuing traffic and bicycles, which would both be travelling much more slowly.

“This is a busy crossing, with 3000 cars a day passing,” he said.

“Some parents are now driving their children to school because they don’t want them to cross the road at that point. What should be a short walk becomes a longer car journey.

“What we would like to see would be speed cushions and smiley faces – so that vehicles are forced to slow down. No one has been badly hurt yet but this is mostly due to luck and people being aware that it is a dangerous crossing.”

Local resident Laura Hanshaw uses the crossing multiple times a day and said traffic has worsened in the past two years.

“My son uses this way to go to and from school and no one stops to let kids across – it’s really not safe at all,” she said.

“I have an older dog (11) who isn’t quick on her feet but I’ve had to drag her along the road to safety due to the speed of cars.

“There is going to be a fatality soon if something isn’t done about this.”

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I’m disabled and struggling to cross the road feeling safe.

“Even when using a mobility scooter cars come towards me too fast for me to cross safely. I no longer go for dog walks that way, I now just use the car and drive down somewhere that is safe to walk.”

Councillor Barbara Jarvie.
Councillor Barbara Jarvie.

Nairn and Cawdor councillor Barbara Jarvie said: “I’m very concerned for pedestrians’ safety. Nairn has a high proportion of non-car owners, yet are faced with the dangers of irresponsible drivers far too often.

“The route for many to town schools, nurseries and the hospital is across that Grantown A939 road.

“This also affects anyone that needs to go across Mill Road and Cawdor Road – an issue Queens Park Residents Association has raised.

“The entire route needs signage, safe crossings, safe pavements and traffic calming so the public feel confident and safe to venture out across Nairn on foot.

“We are meant to encourage active travel but instead we are adding to the traffic problem.”

A Highland Council spokesperson said: “Highland Council, in response to a request to have a light-controlled crossing installed at the crossing point and in response to concerns regarding speeding, commissioned a speed survey on the approaches to the pinch point and a pedestrian survey at the build out. Over the seven-day period the mean average speeds on the approaches and when travelling away from the build out were between 27mph and 31mph. This is within the tolerances in a 30mph speed limit area.

“As with all speed surveys there will be a number of vehicles who exceed the speed limit, and the information will be shared with police.”

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