Transport / Community keen to see speed limit lowered on Burra bridge

Photo © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

A TRAFFIC study is being undertaken on the bridge leading into Burra following concerns in the community over the speed limit.

Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) roads manager Dave Coupe said this will determine current traffic speeds and numbers of vehicles.

The general speed limit applies on the bridge, but after vehicles arrive in Burra they have to drop to 40mph.


There is some concern among the community that the speed should be lowered on the bridge, particularly in light of the increasing number of pedestrians using it.

A previous request for lowering the speed to 40mph was rebuffed because it did not fit in with national guidance.

But the Burra and Trondra Community Council recently raised it again as a safety issue, leading to the SIC agreeing to begin the traffic study.

Chairman Niall O’Rourke said most drivers use common sense and slow down when there are people on the bridge, but he said the the current limit is “far too fast”.


“More and more kids are using it every year, for the likes of fishing, [and there’s] walkers, cyclists, people with prams – it’s a single track bridge really, and the national speed limit is applied, but people can go too fast,” he said.

“You could get five, six kids there fishing in the summer, on the bridge. That’s why it was brought to our attention.”

O’Rourke said the bridge, built in the 1970s, is also very narrow for some of today’s more modern vehicles.

Coupe confirmed that concerns had been passed onto the SIC.

He said the study will “feed into any recommendation that we may make regarding the need for a reduced limit or not”.

In recent months two speed limit trials were approved by councillors in Tresta and in the south end of Lerwick, with active travel – such as cycling and walking – part of the thinking.