WORK is to start on a £36,000 project to relocate Musselburgh High Street bus stops in a bid to ease congestion and reduce journey times.

The existing bus stop outside the police station, for local westbound buses, will have a ‘Keep Clear’ road marking downstream and a new bus lane on the approach to the stop, potentially operating Monday-Friday, 7am-6pm.

A new bus stop will be created westbound at Costa for buses to the city.

Eastbound, the existing bus stop outside Musselburgh Citizens Advice Bureau will be for coastal destinations, while a new stop at BrightHouse will be for ‘inland’ buses to destinations such as Wallyford, Tranent and Haddington.

A plan to install a bus lane at the stop at St Peter’s Church, and revise existing parking to operate outside hours the bus lane was in use, was thrown out after discussion with stakeholders, including representatives from the business community.

Two additional bus stop are planned in Musselburgh High Street

Two additional bus stop are planned in Musselburgh High Street

Tom Reid, East Lothian Council’s head of infrastructure, said: “Musselburgh High Street is recognised as one of the county’s busiest thoroughfares and local residents using the bus services have expressed frustration that buses can be held up at peak times.

“The new measures, funded by the Scottish Government, are temporary for an 18-month period and traffic flow, including the times of bus journeys, will be monitored to assess the impact of the changes. The proposals are fully supported by the bus companies and it is hoped the reduced congestion will provide greater reliability of services.”

A council spokesperson explained that congestion could happen on Musselburgh High Street when one bus had to wait in the carriageway while another was taking on passengers.

Relocation and two additional bus stops would increase options for passengers, and a bus lane would deter double-parking on the approach to the police station bus stop, leaving sufficient room for vehicles to pass stationary buses.

About 12 parking spaces will need to be removed and the Blue Badge parking space will be relocated across the road but the existing taxi rank will be unaffected by the changes.

The work is expected to start on April 19 and will take up to four days.

Ian Bieniowski, network performance manager at Lothian Buses, said: “Lothian Buses remains committed to supporting local communities and we welcome the changes to bus stop arrangements on Musselburgh High Street.

“The additional stops will improve access for buses at this busy location, reducing journey times for customers, while also reducing traffic congestion in the town centre.”

After the experimental 18 months, the operation of High Street and bus services will be reviewed.

The total cost of the project, including detailed design and construction, is £36,000, which will come from Transport Scotland via Bus Priority Rapid Deployment Fund.

Also, at Prestonpans, the positions of the loading bay and bus stop road markings will be changed at the bus stop on Prestonpans High Street at the corner with Ayres Wynd. This is to allow buses to pull in more easily, the council spokesperson added.