Minister announces new study into Laurencekirk flyover costs

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A NEW study is to be carried out to give greater clarity as to how much it would cost to build a flyover at the notorious A90/A937 junction at Laurencekirk.

This announcement was made on Tuesday by Transport Minister Keith Brown when he attended a meeting of the Scottish Parliament petitions committee.

Mr Brown said he had instructed his officials to find out more accurately how much funding would be needed for grade separation at the location.

Mr Brown said such a study would be sensible, given the fact that different transport reports have put the cost at between £4 million and £23 million.

The minister said that Transport Scotland will carry out a “cost refinement exercise” and report back to MSPs as soon as possible.

He outlined the position after being questioned by North-east MSP Nigel Don, who said not having an accurate figure was “a big problem and a sticking point.”

The minister, who visited the junction last week in the company of campaigner Jill Campbell, said he hoped the study would inform organisations who would be expected to pay for the flyover.

It is likely that companies building houses in the area would pay a contribution as new developments would generate additional traffic.

Mr Brown said: “Some greater certainty on final costs would be useful.

“I am going to take a fresh look at this, so I have asked Transport Scotland to undertake a cost-refinement exercise to provide developers and others with a better basic understanding of the amount of money that would be required to fund this kind of upgrade.”

Mr Brown said caveats would be attatched to any revised figure.

“The outcome of the exercise will provide only a preliminary figure which will narrow the range of how much will be needed and in no way represents a final cost estimate.”

Jill Campbell who presented an 8,000 signature petition to the committee calling for grade-separation described the announcement as “positive and an encouraging development.”

She said the Minister would not have asked for more detailed costings unless there was a possibility that something could come out of it.

She also welcomed the fact that the minister was to examine the possibility of the junction being better lit.

Constituency MSP Mike Rumbles said he was unhappy that Mr Brown refused to say whether the project would be added to the government’s priority transport projects wish-list.

Mr Rumbles said that including the project in the Strategic Transport Projects Review would have sent out a clear message that the government was committed to building a flyover.

He said: “I have come away from the committee unhappy because it is quite clear that the refinement study is to find out how much it would cost to build the flyover for developers.

“There is no intention to put any public money into the junction despite the waste of life so far.

“What we are looking for is justice and for the right thing to be done.

“That is for the Transport Minister to put a plan together for this essential road safety mesure and include it in the STPR.”

Mr Rumbles considers that it will only be a matter of time before there is another fatality if the work is not carried out.

Mr Don said the news announced by the minister was enormously welcome.

“It will allow those of us who remain concerned about this to talk to people to find a way to get the money together.”