Expect chips with new dressings!

fleein chuckies

Aberdeenshire Council is calling for motorists to be vigilant and be aware of loose chips on “newly dressed roads”.

Work begins shortly on roads around Westhill and District to improve weather-damaged roads.

The council says the technique of laying hot bitumen, followed by chippings, gives better grip to vehicles.

But it means drivers need to take extra care when passing over treated sections as there is a short term, heightened risk of skidding.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Roads and Landscape Services, Philip McKay, said: “Warning signs advising of surface dressing works are always erected prior to work starting, and remain in place for several days after the work has been carried out.

“While it sometimes may appear that a road is clear and suitable for normal use, there may still be loose chippings to watch out for, so I would urge road users to always adhere to advisory signs and drive at the appropriate speed.

“Driving at excessive speed over loose chippings can cause spinning and skidding, as well as chipping to windscreens and paintwork. I would urge road users to drive at the advised speed limit to avoid any accidents.”

The council’s director of infrastructure services, Stephen Archer, said: “Surface dressing is often carried out while the road is still open to traffic, so I would strongly advise motorists to take extra care when out on Aberdeenshire’s roads this summer.

“Road users should always bear in mind that a roads crew could be carrying out surface dressing works just around the next corner – we want you and our colleagues to stay safe while we’re improving the roads network.”

Misuse of disabled parking at Westhill Shopping Centre


We are all pleased I am sure that the building work at the shopping centre is now complete apart from a small list of issues over which the Community Council are in correspondence with the owners.

A request has been made by a resident to have eye-level “disabled parking” notices near the bays so that they can be clearly seen especially in wintery weather. I have also been following this up for the resident who herself is disabled. She is championing for fellow disabled neighbours and friends, not just herself.

She has pointed out a further issue whereby delivery vans are dropping off in front of the shops, using the disabled parking bays.

Charges and conditions of use in off-street car parks are a contractual matter between the car park owner and the motorist. Enforcement of parking bays for people with disabilities is therefore a matter for the individual owner or operator of the car park.

If a non-disabled motorist has parked in a bay reserved for people with disabilities in a private car park, for example a supermarket, an employee of the store can ask the driver to move their car from the reserved space – but they cannot legally insist on it.

I have therefore written to the management of the shopping centre to highlight not only a health and safety matter but an equalities issue.

I hope that both issues are addressed speedily.

Closure of Westhill to Kirkton of Skene road


Please note that due to URGENT VERGE MAINTENANCE WORKS to be carried out by ABERDEENSHIRE COUNCIL – LANDSCAPE SERVICES it will be necessary in the interests of public safety to apply the following restriction to traffic.



From the junction with U97c to Kirkton of Skene

On Wednesday 23 September 2015 for 1 day (from 9.30 am to 3.30pm).

Access for pedestrians and to adjacent properties will be maintained at all times.

Site notices will be erected in due course indicating the temporary restriction to traffic and the alternative routes where applicable.

The alternative route is via B979 Kirkton of Skene to A944, A944 to Broadstraik Road, Westhill, U95c to as shown on the attached plan.



Why so many broken speed limit signs?

The issue of temporary speed limit signs being out of commission invariably crops up at public meetings all across Aberdeenshire. The following response has been received from the council:

 “Council engineers attend any signage faults which are reported. After initial checks for timer programme faults a council electrician would then check the power supply. If no programme or power faults are found a job is raised with our external contractor to repair the sign.

 “The contractor is not local and so waits until a batch of repairs builds up before sending personnel to carry repairs, which can cause delays.

 “Roads officers are in the process of carrying out a review of flashing speed limit signs in Aberdeenshire in order to ensure that they are working to the highest standard possible and provide the desired impact to address local issues.

 “However, we would like to remind motorists that they should always be adhering to permanent, traditional speed limit signs situated both in and out of urban areas, and that flashing signs are an additional reinforcement measure.”


Promoting safety at school gates

school sign

Over recent weeks and months, I have been meeting with parent councils and teachers as well as getting feedback from concerned neighbours about irresponsible parking at local schools. Crombie, Elrick and Westhill Primary have ongoing parking issues. I am pleased that Aberdeenshire Council have launched the Park Smart campaign along with support from Police Scotland which aims to tackle potentially dangerous parking habits by educating road users and enforcing best practice.

A recent “Hands Up” survey carried out by Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, suggest that 22% of pupils from schools in Aberdeenshire are driven to school every day. With one in five journeys to school made by car, the safety of pupils to choose to walk or cycle is being put unnecessarily at risk. This in turn is putting families off allowing their children to walk or cycle to school on their own due to the dangers they could face at the school gate.

The Park Smart campaign aims to educate and enforce responsible parking around schools. A package of initiatives is being made available to schools as part of the campaign, giving pupils the chance to get involved and help spread the word. Police Scotland will carry out enforcement visits.

Every child should be able to get to school safely without having to face dangers caused by a minority of irresponsible drivers.

Change of speed limit on A944 Westhill

40mph“Following many phone calls, emails and messages on social media, I have the following update on the change of speed limit from 50mph to 40mph.

As I posted previously, Aberdeen City Council consulted on this change in July 2014. According to the Minutes I have received from a City Council meeting on 4th September, the only objection received was from Westhill & Elrick Community Council which you can see below as well as the City Council’s response to that objection:

“5.11.1 An objection to the introduction of the proposed 40mph speed limit on the A944 between the Prime Four Development and the City Boundary at Westhill has been received from the Westhill and Elrick Community Council. The objector feels that the proposed introduction of a 40mph speed limit is simply to reduce driver confusion by introducing a uniform speed limit whilst increasing driver frustration and encouraging drivers to ignore the speed limit, especially as this is a dual carriageway with few dwelling houses. The objector also mentions that the sections of the A944, Lang Stracht between the Skene Road junction and James Cocker roses, and the B9119, Skene Road from the A944 junction to Groats Road are currently single carriageway with a 50mph speed limit imposed.”

5.11.2 Response to objection

The proposed restrictions are intended to rationalise the speed limit on the section of the A944, Aberdeen to Alford road on the section between Kingswells and Westhill in light of current and future developments including the AWPR interchange at the Five Mile Garage. This reduction will tie in with the 40mph speeds limits currently in place at the Arnhall Development, Westhill and the Prime Four Development at Kingswells. The current 50mph speed limits on the A944 and B9119 to the east of Kingswells are to be reassessed in light of the proposed development at the Den of Maidencraig.

Given the aforementioned, it is recommended that the reduced speed limit of 40mph be introduced on the section of A944 between the Arnhall and Prime Four developments to the extent highlighted in Appendix 1 and the order therefore produced to reflect this.”

Aberdeen City Council also advised me today that the final written order for the change in the speed limit was advertised in the press on the 11th February with the date for implementation as yesterday.

Two VMS signs were due to go out yesterday, but due to emergency works by their In-house contractor this was delayed until today. Those who travelled home tonight will have noticed these, as did I. Unfortunately some motorists did not!

Safe driving.




Road Safety – Call to drivers over mobiles

Cllr Iris Walker with Inspector Jon Millar

Courtesy of The Press and Journal Wednesday, January 21, 2015

“An Aberdeenshire councillor is urging drivers to think twice about using their mobile phone behind the wheel.

Westhill councillor Iris Walker has launched a campaign to promote road safety by highlighting the dangers of talking or texting while driving.

Signs have been erected on the dual carriageway at Westhill and in the surrounding areas and police will educate drivers if they are stopped for the offence.

Ms Walker said “Studies show that drivers who use a mobile phone are much less aware of what is happening around them, fail to see road signs, react more slowly, take longer to brake and longer to stop.

“They are also four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves or others.

“We know that there are a high number of drivers on their phones who go undetected – we see them every day. The police cannot be everywhere. Drivers need to be more aware of the dangers.”

Inspector Jon Millar of the Garioch local policing team said “Driving whilst using a mobile phone is a significant distraction to any driver. It is important that all drivers are fully aware of what is going on around them and are free from distraction and fully engaging in driving safely. In built up areas, a driver needs to be able to respond to any number of hazards and the message is clear: if you need to take a call, then pull over.”


Calls for safer driving on A944 Dunecht to Alford Road


Local residents both in Westhill and Sauchen have raised concerns over the last few weeks about driving standards on the A944, in particular on the stretch from Dunecht to Millbank after a spate of accidents. Aberdeenshire Council and Police Scotland have been working in partnership to look at road surfaces and other issues. I am pleased that Aberdeenshire Council are to look at re-surfacing part of the road just east of the junction at Lyne of Linton. This follows on from resurfacing done last year when I raised the safety of that junction at the time. I have also asked Police Scotland to consider temporary warning signs as a reminder to drivers. The A944 is an extremely busy road and residents have reported some pretty poor and downright dangerous driving on a daily basis.

Think Bike!

Zenith 3


As the weather improves and more bikes are back on the road, Operation Zenith’s newletter is full of timely information. Note the date Thursday 5th June when Grampian Transport Museum will be the venue for a  motorcycling safety evening. Full details are in the newsletter: