Rip it up and start again

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BELLSHILL councillor Harry McGuigan says he expected more ‘professionalism’ from North Lanarkshire Council’s roads department after a newly completed roundabout was bulldozed this week.

A five-month project at the junction of Farmgate Square and Hamilton Road to improve access and create the new roundabout was finished only a matter of weeks ago.

However, on Monday contractors JH Civil Engineering began a three-week programme of remedial works which saw the closure of the entrances to Farmgate Square and Queens Crescent as they flattened the large roundabout back down to ground level.

It transpired at last week’s Local Area Partnership (LAP) meeting that a request by the owners of M&D’s Theme Park in Strathclyde Park to allow them to be able to use the route to transport equipment from their storage yard in Crossgates had been forgotten.

Their drivers found that when they tried to negotiate the roundabout with large loads it was proving impossible and were keen to avoid travelling right through the town.

Now the roads department has had to splash out an as yet undisclosed sum to ensure the roundabout will be no higher than kerb level.

A council spokesperson said: “Following a request from the owners of M&D’s, we have agreed to reduce the level of the roundabout to allow lorries carrying abnormal loads to negotiate the roundabout.

“The lorries regularly travel between the company’s nearby store and the theme park carrying equipment. Their current route goes through a residential area and past a local school but by carrying out the work to the roundabout, we can create a more direct and safer route for these large lorries.

“The council will be carrying out this work, which will take around 10 to 14 days.

“It involves reducing the height of the roundabout core to the same as the road kerb which will allow the lorries to turn safely across the roundabout. The costs will be met from the council’s roads budget.”

For Councillor McGuigan, who is also convener of the LAP, this brought back recent memories of the roundabout in Mossend near Aldi’s which also had to be revised soon after completion.

He said: “I can hardly believe this has happened again, you would have thought lessons would have been learned the last time and you expect a bit more professionalism from a council department.

“The head of roads assured the LAP that there would be no inconvenience or additional funding required, but this failed to satisfy us as we know there will be both of those things.

“It is quite clear there has been a failure in the process somewhere and the LAP will be demanding that this matter is looked at further to give a full explanation of what went wrong that we are satisfied with and I would expect a report to go before the roads committee.”

On the Times & Speaker Facebook page reader Duncan Kane added: “The council spent five months building a huge roundabout and changing the traffic system in the vicinity of the Sir John Mann Centre and are now digging it all back up.

“It must have cost a fortune first time round, so where’s the money coming from to do it all again?”

Like Duncan, were you surprised by the vanishing roundabout this week?

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