Junction fight will go on vows activist

A LOCAL campaigner has said the fight to provide a fly-over on the A90 at Marykirk will continue if this week’s hearing at the Scottish Parliament is unsuccessful.

At the time of going to press, Jill Campbell said Tuesday’s meeting of the parliament’s public petitions committee could be the last opportunity to make the case for a grade separated junction.

Her comments came after a site visit last week by transport minister Keith Brown, who had taken up an invitation extended by Mrs Campbell and local councillor David May.

Mr Brown was due to appear at Tuesday’s hearing to explain why his department plans to upgrade junctions at the Inveralmond and Broxden roundabouts in Perth and the Keir roundabout at Dunblane. There there have been no fatal accidents at either site over the last 10 years while there have been four at the Marykirk junction over the same period.

Although Mrs Campbell welcomed Mr Brown’s visit last Tuesday, she said the minister had made it clear that there were still no guarantees that action would be taken.

The mother-of-three, who collected an 8,000 signature petition calling for a fly-over after the death of a local man in 2004, had e-mailed inviting him to see for himself the situation at the busy junction during rush hour and the problems it poses for motorists trying to cross the dual carriageway.

Mrs Campbell said: “He hasn’t expressed an opinion and he made it clear that nothing more would come of the meeting other than it being a response to me asking him to come.

“Also, with the petitions committee meeting coming up it would give him maybe a bit more of an insight into what the campaign and the junction were all about.

“I travelled across the junction with him and he asked me a lot of questions. He did seem genuinely interested and I’m grateful that he came, which is more than the last minister did.”

Mrs Campbell said she was disappointed that Mr Brown had not seen the junction at rush-hour, which is when it is at its busiest, but she was still able to point out where the difficulties lie.

She said: “It was disappointing from my point of view but I pointed out how far back the queues stretch and what the dangers are, as we see them as locals.

“I’ll be in Edinburgh for the committee and we’ll see what happens then. I think that will probably be the last petitions committee meeting but it won’t be the end of the campaign.

“We’ll keep plugging away but we’ll have to see what happens and then take it from there.”

Mr May also attended Tuesday’s meeting and wrote to the committee, urging support for the fly-over

He said: “There is no doubt that crossing the junction is a problem at any time of the day but it is without doubt dangerous at peak times and especially at 6.30 – 8.30 any week-day morning. I invite members of the committee to join me any morning at that time and I will happily host them for breakfast afterwards. Being there at that time will reinforce how dangerous the problem, though I do thank the minister for his visit to see the junction for himself, though his commitments did not enable him to attend at the peak time when the problems are at their worst.”

Mr May also said that plans put forward by Aberdeenshire Council for “a huge number” of houses and an industrial estate in the area, coupled with “considerable numbers” planned for the Montrose area, will add to the pressures on the junction making the need for a fly-over more pressing.