It’s a nightmare on the rough and rocky roads through Dumbarton
No sign of sensible road traffic management as chaos comes to Dumbarton. Pictures by Robert Beacon and Bill Heaney
By Bill Heaney
Nightmare is a much overused word, especially when it comes to the endless public criticism of the performance of West Dunbartonshire Council.
However, as we head towards summer and the heavy traffic we expect to be rolling north along the A82, nightmare fits the bill perfectly.
How do I know this? For a start, I live and work here and have to use the local roads, which are an obstacle course for drivers, and I have just come home to Barloan via the Dumbuck junction.
I came upon a little local difficulty during the week at the foot of Greenhead Road in the form of roadworks.
If these were sign posted before I reached them, then they didn’t jump out at me. I didn’t even see them.
And, let’s face it, important signs should be colourful and in large print so that they get their message across.
These wee tin signs in black and gold and stood on on skinny legs, which can be easily kicked over or blown over, are not fit for purpose and if you are passing them then it’s impossible to read the words beyond DIVERSION.
So, you miss them and you go on driving and cursing for miles until you reach your destination.
Laugh it off if you will, but it’s not just ordinary Joe Soaps like me who are inconvenienced and sent on mystery tours.
Emergency vehicle drivers from the Police, Fire and Ambulance services also have to put up with them.
I have no wish to gild the lily, but someone could die if an ambulance driver lost her way to the hospital.
Dumbarton Central Station bridge in Townend Road, where work is about to finish.
There are some eejit drivers too, such as the one who decided the road under Dumbarton Central railway bridge, pictured above, wasn’t really closed when it said very clearly that it was, and proceeded to knock down and injure a young woman.
I know it’s not the Council who are carrying out all these road works and that they will come up with their usual excuses when they are faced with complaints from the public.
It wisnae us won’t do any longer though.
But if the Council were organised and had a schedule, they should be able to control what is happening, where the works take place, and name the time and date when they will take place.
That way, they would be able to keep the traffic moving smoothly through the town, although with the state the town’s traffic management plan (if there was one at all) was even before the roadworks, this might have been impossible.
Especially when you look now at places like Church Street, Castle Street, St Mary’s Way, Riverside Lane and Bridge Street, which are all choked with cars, whose owners cannot find a legal space to park in.
Some say this is caused by Council workers taking their cars to work, and it most probably is, but what else are they to do since the public transport service is not there when they need it?
My friends at the Council will put this article down to The Democrat up to its usual bitter and biased nonsense of criticising them when they do not deserve it.
Well, they do deserve it and what I am doing here is drawing their faults to their attention and echoing public opinion.
Since they make it as difficult as possible for me to cover their supposedly public meetings where you cannot hear the councillors behind a bus ticket and can see nothing but the back of their heads I have to use social media to gather news.
If it’s not accurate, although 99 per cent of it is, then I have no way of checking it because the Council’s communications officers refuse to communicate and nor does the Chief Executive, who should know better.
Expect no comment either from their SNP bosses, led by the Chuckle Brothers, McColl and Dixon, who sit their laughing and making snide comments all through meetings.
Here are a few comments then in relation to the roadworks chaos:
From the Council itself: Emergency gas mains repairs – Glasgow Road / Castlegreen Street, Dumbarton.
SGN are undertaking essential emergency repairs at the above location and will be replacing old metal gas mains with new, durable plastic pipe.
In order to carry out this work safely, it will be necessary to close Castlegreen Street and Greenhead Road at the junction of Glasgow Road on Tuesday 7th May for three weeks.
Glasgow Road will then be closed on Tuesday 28th May for approximately six weeks. The road will then be resurfaced.
Roy Ince said: “Glasgow Road shut for six weeks? Gonna be a gridlock nightmare, probably be roadworks on the A82 as well!”
Robert Beacon said: “A couple of years ago they re-surfaced Alclutha Avenue [in Silverton] in less than a week. Why so long to re surface Glasgow Road? There could be problems for the fire station there.”
Donna Lamond said “traffic is a nightmare” and Denise McKenzie Lally added: “Great stuck in the Milton or be stuck in a traffic jam. Just amazing thanks.”
John Scott said the situation could be summed up in a word – PANDEMONIUM
Robert Kyle said: “They are going to replace the old piping as the joints have dried out (The old coal gas sealed the joints. Natural gas is dry). This was scheduled for 20-21 but because of the problems, in very short notice, have arranged to do it now as it also seems the road is scheduled later on for resurfacing.”
Elizabeth Eadie said: “If it needs done then so be it. We wouldn’t want continuous leaks and any problems creating more havoc.”
Iain Ellis asked: “What are they using to dig it up with, a spoon? A good operator could dig to the other side of Dumbarton in a week. Should be 24/7 until finished, it’s going to be bedlam. Let’s hope [there are] no accidents on the 82 or we’ll really be stuffed.”
Robert Beacon said there were still some motorists ignoring signs and trying to access Glasgow Road via Greenhead Road bridge.
Carolynn Bowman predicted: “This will be a nightmare.”
Stephen McGinley said there would be 17 weeks of traffic chaos with the second phase from 28th May which “will be murder”.
Julie McTaggart said: “I am not surprised. We are all bloody sick of road works; the Greenhead-Glasgow Road junction was 4-way traffic lights for the last three weeks causing mayhem. Was that just so they could have a wee look to see what was needed?
“How many times has Cardross Road at St Michael’s been opened up? We have had the Railway Bridge at Bonhill Road closed for weeks, prior to that it was gas pipes or water pipes running up the length of Bonhill Road.
“Then we moved to Townend Road Railway Bridge for a couple of months. They opened it up properly last week and now we have temporary lights on the Common.
“Then we will have the bridge on Bonhill Road (yes, I know I’ve mentioned this already) but hey, we made an arse of it, so we need to lift or lower it so the road will be closed AGAIN, probably around the same time as Glasgow Rad, which brings me back to …
“And you wonder why drivers are frustrated?
Workmen from Network Rail were out on the tracks above the Bonhill Road bridge on Thursday measuring up what they will requite to do now to rectify the mistakes there.
The bridge only cost in the region of £2 million.
Balloch Road where work is going on outside the door of the village newsagents.
Bourach in Balloch
Oh, and will the Council keep this quiet too? After all those promises from SNP council leader Cllr Jonathan McColl and his Tory prop-up-pal Sally Page about getting this finished in time for summer, we still have the bourach and Balloch which has turned out to be a shambles that the people neither need nor want. I’m told the main part of the road has been left so narrow that buses are all but scraping sides when they try to get past each other and when buses park opposite each other no one can get past. And no one I have spoken with is pleased with the work on the new village square. One angry resident told me: “They say they did it only because the money became available in grants. But the grants ran out and now they have had to borrow more money to complete the work. Bright that, is it not?”