A £2 MILLION scheme to improve safety at a notorious accident blackspot is now under way.
The first sod of the Angus Council scheme to realign the A92 Arbroath road at the Hawkhill and Courthill bends, known as Big Tree Bends, was cut on Monday. Minor improvements have been carried out previously, but the new scheme will take the road round a 1.5-mile bypass of the bends, eliminating them entirely.
The bends have been notorious for many years as numerous vehicles have gone off the road with serious or fatal consequences. A number of them have been heavy lorries, travelling south and with drivers unfamiliar with the road layout.
Local councillors David May and Mark Salmond this week welcomed the start of the scheme which they said would be a major step forward for road safety.
Councillor May, council infrastructure services convener, said: “I am delighted to see work start on site at Big Tree Bends, bringing significant safety improvements at this location, which has long exhibited a poor accident record.
“Angus Council believes strongly that society needs to work together to reduce road accidents. This latest investment by the council in road safety builds on the progress we have made over the past five years in making Angus roads safer for all road users.
“Investment in safety measures has seen a huge reduction in road accidents in Angus, with the total number of road casualties in the county falling to a 30-year low in 2010.”
He added that the authority has pledged to continue to work with other organisations to improve safety on the county’s roads and has allocated further investment in this year’s budget.
Councillor Salmond also said the elimination of the “killer” bends will be broadly welcomed by drivers.
He said: “This new £2.1 million investment to eliminate this section of road will be welcomed by all drivers and it is a testament to Angus Councils commitment through capital investment in the A92 Route Action Plan to improve road safety.
“I have been involved since the inception of this project and have worked closely with my fellow Independent councillor Bob Spink to ensure roads officers clearly understood the local residents’ view on the preferred route of the new road layout.
“Removing these bends will make this a far safer stretch of road and is a project I am delighted to see coming to fruition.”
The road will deviate north before passing through a narrow woodland strip after around 500 metres (0.3 miles) and continue north for a further 600 metres. It will then take a north easterly line, skirting fields and passing through the disused Hawkhill Quarry at a point around 1,600 metres (0.9 miles) along its length before rejoining the existing line of the A92 around 970 metres (0.6 miles) north of the Lunan junction.