A test run of how Arbroath’s multi-million pound Place for Everyone project might operate is about to get underway.
From Monday, the main A92 artery splitting the town will see a temporary street trial of the cycling and walking-friendly scheme.
Cones, bollards and signs will mark the layout for cycle lanes and paths planned in the £13 million initiative, the first of its kind in Scotland.
But controversy continues to surround the project, with a claim the four-week trial is the latest stage of it being “railroaded” through.
Angus Council say the temporary set-up is a chance for locals to see how the new layouts could work.
They also hope for valuable feedback to influence the final design.
The council was awarded £9m of active travel charity Sustrans Places for Everyone cash in 2019.
The authority is putting £4m of its own money into the scheme, despite a failed opposition bid at this year’s budget to delay the initiative.
Previously branded a “vanity project”, there have been calls to direct the cash towards repairing roads or education.
Consultants Arcadis were appointed to come up with plans to improve pedestrian and cycling provision.
The redesign of the A92 dual carriageway running through the town is central to the project.
Better links from the railway and bus station on the west side of Burnside Drive to the town centre will also be created.
Their vision will see better use of green spaces along the route, including the seafront areas near Ladyloan.
But critics say giving over more space to cycling and walking will put even more pressure on the already busy stretch.
Supporters say scheme is “more than a cycle path” and will bring benefits for all users.
Drivers are being warned lanes will be restricted and traffic signal timings altered when the trial swings into action next week.
Angus communities and finance convener Mark Salmond said: “This street trial is an important aspect of the design journey which will enable us to monitor the impact to users of the proposed allocated space.
“I would encourage everyone to feedback their views, positive or negative on the four-week trial.
“These views will help the consultants in the design process and will shape the final design of the project,” he said.
Arbroath businessman Alex Smith said: “Out of the blue the signs have appeared on the dual carriageway saying there is to be a four-week trial.
“This whole thing is just being railroaded through.
“There has been a lack of consultation around this entire project from the start.
“They put up the interactive map, but there’s been very little consultation over the actual design ideas, and that’s been made worse because of the pandemic.
“There is still a lot of unhappiness in the town about this.
“Folk feel it is all just a done deal,” he said.
Locals are able to offer their views on the scheme through an interactive online map.
It can be found here.