Councillor claims junction not treated as priority

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LOCAL councillor David May has called for the Scottish Government to take action on the A90 junction near Marykirk as a matter of priority.

His comments followed those of local MSP Nigel Don who claimed there was no safe turning off a 20-mile stretch of the dual carriageway between Brechin and Stonehaven south, which has been the scene of a series of fatal accidents over the years.

He also said there was “no reason” to give up the fight for a flyover, a campaign which was started by Hillside woman Jill Fotheringham in 1994.

Last week Transport Scotland released details of costing for five different schemes to provide a grade separated junction at the site, which ranged between £13million and £28million.

But despite this Mr May this week said the Scottish Government is not treating the issue as a priority.

He said: “I still feel that junction is one of the most dangerous in the UK and the government seems to be targeting funding in the central belt. That junction will get worse with more house-building going on in Montrose and Laurencekirk as well as potential developments at the harbour and GSK.

“Nigel Don said at a hustings meeting I attended that spending is to do with priorities and I agree, but feel the junction should be a priority and speaking to a lot of people in the Montrose area, they would say the same thing.

“I’ve written to John Swinney who recently said that infrastructure spending was a good way to get the economy going and I would have thought that junction would be a good way of spending money.”

Mr Don said the current turn-offs on that stretch of the A90 are dangerous and that it “can only be a matter of time” before the crossing is upgraded, but pointed out there is a shortage of capital for new transport projects.

He said: “That means roads with even more accidents and fatalities are likely to come first. The A9 is a good example.

“The minister will have reviewed recent accident statistics which sow that the signs, lines and speed limit have had some positive effect in reducing accidents.

“It is still the case that an elderly man was killed on this road as recently as 2009, and in my view accidents will continue to happen until we can remove the need for traffic to turn right on or off the A90. There is a 20-mile stretch between the Brechin north junction and the Stonehaven south junction where there is no safe crossing.

“The driver of a tractor and trailer or an articulated vehicle has no alternative but to pull out across the dual carriageway.”

Earlier this year the A937 Montrose to Marykirk road was listed among the top five most dangerous Scottish roads by the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP) which Ms Fotheringham said makes the case for safety improvements more pressing.

The road, its accident record and the junction with the A90 will feature in a BBC documentary next month to which Ms Fotheringham has contributed.

Mr Don added that the matter of an upgraded junction is not simply one for the Scottish Government but also for Aberdeenshire Council and any potential developers seeking to build in Laurencekirk.