Campaigners seeking a fly-over at a notorious accident blackspot on the A90 took their protest to Holyrood.
Members of the A937/A90 junction campaign group, along with four local MSPs and councillors, lobbied the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh on Thursday (April 24).
The demonstration was organised by the driving force behind the campaign, Jill Fotheringham, from Montrose.
She has been pressing for a fly-over at the junction outside Laurencekirk, which is used by many commuters from Montrose and the surrounding area every day, for 10 years.
She said: “I think it had the desired affect. It gave us good publicity and showed the government we are not going away until the work that needs doing at the junction is done. We’re going to keep fighting.
“There has been a lot of development in Montrose without any thought of what it will do to the Laurencekirk junction.
“The number of people commuting on a morning and using the junction has risen. It is at a frightening level.”
The group had hoped to meet with SNP Transport Minister Keith Brown, but he was unavailable. However, they did speak to David Anderson, head of Transport Economics.
Alison McInnes, Scottish Liberal Democrats MSP for North East Scotland, who attended the protest, said: “I was delighted to see members of the local community visit Holyrood to emphasise the compelling case for a fly-over or underpass at Laurencekirk.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats introduced a 50 mile per hour speed limit, advanced warning signs and a camera at this blackspot.
“While these measures have reduced the risk, they were only ever intended to be a short term solution and Ministers at the time made it clear they were committed to further enhancing safety at this junction.
“This Scottish Government has since delayed a proper long term solution for years. It now needs to finally accept that this junction is dangerous, stop shirking its responsibilities and commit to a fly-over or underpass now.
“Each accident or near miss at this blackspot is one too many.”
A report by Bear Scotland released on the same day as the protest showed a reduction of collisions resulting in injuries of 63 per cent on the A90 at Laurencekirk since 2010, however, there was a rise of 75 per cent of damage only claims.
Jill said: “In my mind any collision could cause an injury or be a fatality.”
The report also showed the number of people caught speeding at the junction has risen. In 2010 3454 drivers were caught speeding, this almost doubled to 6,000 in 2013.
NESTRANS are currently conducting a survey of the Laurencekirk junction area and Jill hopes the results will be in the campaign’s favour.
Nigel Don, SNP MSP for Angus North and Mearns, was also at the protest.
He said: “Whilst I recognise that accident statistics across the three junctions have improved over the period, and I am very glad this is the case, the fact remains that the south junction is the focus of residents’ concerns.
“It is where the commuter traffic comes up from the Montrose area, and all that traffic has to turn right across the southbound carriageway heading north in the morning. Transport Scotland need to recognise that there is still local concern.”
The campaign for a grade separated junction at the congested road was started back in 2004 after a fatal accident.
A Traffic Scotland spokesperson said: “Road safety is paramount in all that we do and recent statistics show that there have been no fatal or serious accidents at the southern Laurencekirk junction since 2005.
“A review of the safety improvements implemented at Laurencekirk in 2010 shows a substantial reduction in injury accidents over the three year period following the installation.
“We will continue to support work led by NESTRANS and Aberdeenshire Council on calls for a grade separated junction.
“This is being considered in the context of access to Laurencekirk and planned developments on to the east of the A90 in Angus. “