TRANSPORT Scotland has told Holyrood that the current measures in place at the A90 junction at Laurencekirk are reducing accidents.
The comments came as the need for a flyover on the junction was discussed last week at the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee.
Giving evidence, Transport Scotland’s head of planning and design, David Anderson, said that the situation was constantly monitored and that a report of the effectiveness of the 50mph limit- which was put in place in May 2010 - is set to be published in May of this year.
However, he said that since the 50mph limit was enforced, there had been no serious accidents at the South junction.
MSP Nigel Don asked how much traffic it would take before vehicles could no longer get over the junction from Marykirk?
Mr Anderson explained that Transport Scotland could carry out investigations to discover this, and there could be a case for doing so. However, it was a difficult calculation as people adapted and took other routes.
Mr Don suggested that vehicles moving to other roads and junctions would surely create other issues and said it was not something they would want to happen.
He added: “You haven’t offered me any hope that this is going to happen soon.”
MSP Alex Johnstone pointed out that there had been accidents and fatalities at the other junctions and asked how Transport Scotland were monitoring this?
Mr Anderson explained that was part of Transport Scotland’s standard process and they did look at the network as a whole.
Transport Scotland were the final of three groups to give evidence at the meeting. Community representative Michael Robson, of the Laurencekirk Village Association, also spoke along with council representatives.
Mr Robson presented the need for a flyover and looked at the impact the current junction had on the community.
He said: “Transport Scotland has done alot of work proving the details for improving the road. What they don’t do is look at the people and the human impact on the people. It’s a barrier between the Howe of the Mearns.”
He said that the community is “preoccupied” with the crossing and claimed it prevents people travelling. He also laid out, as well as the safety benefits, the economic benefits which would come from the junction being improved.
During the Council evidence, representatives of Aberdeenshire Council, Angus Council and Nestrans, also presented the case for the fly-over with Derick Murray, director of Nestrans describing the case for a flyover as compelling and justified.
The committee now have to decide what further action to take on the issue.
Speaking after the meeting, Nigel Don MSP for Angus North and Mearns said: “There was agreement this morning that the traffic flows at the Laurencekirk south junction exceed the levels at which a grade separated junction would be provided on a new road. The frustrating thing is that the speed limit is presently seen by Transport Scotland as a satisfactory measure on the existing road.
“The argument that any upgrading of the junction should be paid for by developers was considered at some length. Again I think there was agreement that there are not enough building opportunities near the south junction for this to be the case.
“I am grateful to Maureen Watt MSP, who is the Convener of the Committee, for allowing a considerable amount of time for this session. It is now up to the committee to decide what further action it will take on Jill Fotheringham’s public petition. I think the issues got a good airing this morning and the onus is on the traffic professionals within Aberdeenshire Council, NESTRANS and Transport Scotland to find a way of providing the grade separated junction it is entirely clear the community needs.”