MSP expresses concern over Sheriffhall Roundabout

Monday January 12th 2015

Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, has expressed concern at the progress being made over improvements at the Sheriffhall Roundabout. Mr Beattie recently wrote to Derek Mackay, the Minister for Transport and Islands, to request an update on timescales and Mr Mackay responded to say that the preferred junction improvement option is expected to be announced in autumn 2015.

Mr Beattie said: ‘I’m concerned that motorists are going to be stuck with yet more traffic jams until a solution is in place. Clearly this is going to take much more time than I would like.

‘The complexity of the solution is a major factor in the cause of the delays. I do acknowledge that it is crucial to make the right decision or we will not solve anything. Of course, I also recognise the cost implications at a time of real cuts to our capital budget by Westminster.

‘However, we need to find an answer and to that end I will be pressing for a timeous decision to be made on which solution is best and for a timescale to be scheduled in.’

Currently, Sheriffhall roundabout is the only junction on the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass which is not grade separated. Grade separation being the term used to describe roads at different heights. The roundabout at Sheriffhall can lead to significant localised queuing, especially during the morning and evening peak periods.

Junction improvements at Sheriffhall were identified as part of the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR), published in December 2008.

The six-arm roundabout has undergone various improvements, including localised widening, the provision of additional lanes, and traffic lights to try to alleviate the delays and long queues. Further improvements are complex due to a number of factors.

Aerial Photo of Sheriffhall

The area is underlain by numerous historical mine workings, and a geological fault which underlies the Roundabout. Although there is no longer any deep mining activity at Sheriffhall, potentially significant issues with ground conditions remain to be investigated, with mineral seams, fault zones and mine shafts all potentially within the area.

There are extensive plans for future residential and business development within the vicinity of Sheriffhall, including the South East Wedge (Shawfair) development. Sheriffhall also provides access to a number of growth areas, including the South East of Edinburgh where an Enterprise area has recently been established, and large developments along the A7 corridor. Sheriffhall also provides access from the east of Edinburgh City area to the growth areas around the West of Edinburgh and the M8 Corridor

The Borders Railway is currently under construction and passes beneath the A720 Edinburgh City bypass via a tunnel approximately 300m east of the Sheriffhall Roundabout.

Consulting Engineers, URS were appointed in June 2013 to undertake a Stage 1 Assessment. The principal aim of which was to identify a range of grade separation improvement options. The study examined traffic flows in the area, as well as considering how a new grade separated junction would interact with the adjacent A720 junctions, including the Millerhill Interchange at the northern end of the A68 Dalkeith Bypass.

Eight junction options were reviewed in accordance with the stage 1 Assessment processes, namely:

  • Option 1 – Dumbbell Grade Separation at Sheriffhall
  • Option 2 – All slips provided at Gilmerton, no connection at Sheriffhall
  • Option 3 – Squareabout at Gilmerton, A7 bridged over A720
  • Option 4 – Collector Distributor, No Connection at Sheriffhall
  • Option 5 – Combined Gilmerton and Sheriffhall Junction
  • Option 6 – Grade Separated Roundabout at Sheriffhall
  • Option 7 – Dumbbell Grade Separation at Sheriffhall, Gilmerton Slips closed
  • Option 8 – Dumbbell Grade Separation West of Sheriffhall, Gilmerton Slips closed

The Stage 1 Assessment has now completed and has concluded that Options 1, 2, 6 and 8 are to be taken forward for further assessment at Stage 2.

It is the preferred option coming out of Stage 2 that Derek MacKay has said, in response to Colin Beattie’s question, that he expects to be announced for public consultation in the autumn of 2015. However, no timescale has been offered when construction of the chosen option would be completed.

Option 1 – Dumbbell Grade Separation at Sheriffhall

Option 1 - Dumbbell Grade Separation at Sheriffhall

Option 2 – All slips provided at Gilmerton, no connection at Sheriffhall

Option 2 - All slips provided at Gilmerton with not connection at Sheriffhall

Option 6 – Grade Separated Roundabout at Sheriffhall

Option 6 - Grade separated roundabout at Sheriffhall

Option 8 – Dumbbell Grade Separation West of Sheriffhall, Gilmerton Slips closed

Option 8 - Dumbbell Grade Separation West of Sheriffhall with Gilmerton slips closed

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2 responses to “MSP expresses concern over Sheriffhall Roundabout”

  1. pigeonpenguin says:

    I don’t like option 2 as I would have thought that would put extra traffic past Dobbies. When going east I normally carry onto Sheriffhall rather than come off at Gilmerton but option 2 would mean I (and lots of other people) would have to come off at Gilmerton. At busy times traffic regularly backs up from the Dobbies roundabout upto the Gilmerton junction and then on towards Gilmerton, so option 2 would just make that worse. Coming from the other side would mean going through Sheriffhall on the flyover and then doubling back from Gilmerton junction which just seems wrong. Is option 2 there just to make up the numbers? Ed.

  2. James Greystones says:

    While the anticar, headinthesand councillers in charge of us complain of air pollution and poor economic growth, they design and inflict bewilderingly stupid and ill thought out roads on us time and time again. This should have been a flyover from day one but, true to form, the tens of millions of wasted ‘upgrade’ contracts with associated ‘brown envelopes’ from the contractors has seen those responsible reap the rewards of corruption whilst Edinburgh’s local, business and tourist traffic struggles to move around. What an utter waste of time, money and energy. To further show the City Bypass was and is unfit for purpose (the name itself tells people to avoid Edinburgh rather than visit): why are there no dedicated grade separated slips from the M8 to the City Bypass? Why no dedicated slips at Gogarburn? Why no dedicated slips at Old Craighall? Why no hard shoulder for the entire route? Why is the road unlit? Why no Rest Areas with direct slip access? This road shames Edinburgh, Scotland and the U.K. It’s badly designed, inadequate and responsible for unwanted pollution, poor travel times and unnecessarily tedious motoring journeys that, if it was a decent road, would be a joy and a pleasure. If you make travelling by vehicle difficult, you cause congestion, create unnecessary pollution, deter commercial activity and, above all, damage people’s lives.

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