New chaos at roundabout as power cut hits traffic lights

FRUSTRATED drivers, who have had to endure months of delays as the Seafield roundabout was removed, faced another headache – when the lights went out.

A power failure caused all the traffic lights to go out at the newly completed junction yesterday. More than 1.000 homes were also hit.

Workmen finishing off final details of the project stepped in to help when the lights failed just before 3pm. They directed hundreds of cars for more than half an hour before police arrived.

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But local residents and a city councillor say the situation could have been "disastrous" if the workmen had not been on site and have hit out at the council for not providing a contingency plan.

Work to replace the roundabout ended last month, almost six months late and up to 2 million over budget. Delays were due to bad weather and poor planning.

The power cut, which was caused by a cable fault, also affected around 1,000 homes in King's Road and nearby streets. ScottishPower engineers repaired the fault, and all lights were back on by 4pm.

Andy Sutherland, 38, a bus driver from King's Road, who was at home, said: "We looked outside and all the power was off. If it had been later in the day it would have been even more chaotic. Had the workmen not been there at the time the situation could have been disastrous. What would happen if there was no-one there?"

Police arrived at around 3.25pm to take over traffic management before the fault was repaired.

A ScottishPower spokeswoman said: "We apologise for the inconvenience caused. Fortunately, it was just for a short period of time. The call came in just before 3pm, and the lights were all back on within an hour."

But local Labour councillor Ewan Aitken said residents were concerned that there was no contingency plan in case power failed. "There could have been a major accident," he said. "This is a very busy five-way junction and you can't just expect the cars to sort it out for themselves.

"One would have thought there would be some assessment of the risk of power failure at every large junction. This is chaos on top of months of chaos. People are still getting used to the new layout, but it's difficult for road users such as pedestrians and cyclists."

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A council spokesman said: "The contractor, who was on site to deal with minor snagging issues, dealt effectively with traffic management until the police arrived."

The new layout is intended to cut the number of accidents and shorten journey times after 15 crashes in the past five years, one involving the death of a cyclist.