Calls revived for Lanark relief road

Wellgate in Lanark, a pollution hotspot.
Wellgate in Lanark, a pollution hotspot.

Heavy traffic is now not only choking the roads and economy of Lanark but its citizens too, a meeting heard this week.

That claim has sparked renewed calls for the near-half-century-old plans to build a relief road around the town centre to be revived.

Increasing traffic snarl-ups in the heart of town were the subject of a debate at Monday night’s meeting of the Royal Burgh of Lanark Community Council with its chairman, Frank Gunning, declaring: “The streets of Lanark were designed for horses and carts and not for the heavy lorries and number of cars on the road in the 21st century.

“Something radical needs to be done if this town isn’t to choke to death in more ways than one.”

One of the South Lanarkshire Council members at the meeting, Ed Archer, claimed that studies had shown Lanark’s Wellgate to be the most polluted throughfare in the town, with traffic often left jammed for long periods in the narrow road and sprewing out exhaust fumes. He also identified Bannatyne Street and Hope Street as other hotspots.

Mr Gunning admitted that he himself had just recently been stuck at the notorious Hope Street-Bloomgate junction for 12 minutes “and left my engine running”.

He said that the long- awaited Lanark relief road scheme, first proposed in the late 1960s, should now be revived and finally become a reality.

Another South Lanarkshire Council member at the meeting, fellow Clydesdale North councillor Catherine McClymont, indicated that, in the current financial conditions, it is unlikely such a scheme would get under way any time in the near future.

However, Mr Gunning called for the scheme to be moved up the council’s priority list, saying: “This town isn’t going to develop without urgent action.”