Motorists face delays as slip road work starts

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Motorists face several weeks of diversions and potential delays as work starts on the new slip road on to the A90 at Laurencekirk’s northern junction with the trunk road.

Signs have gone up on a mile-long stretch of the A90, prohibiting access to an from several side roads.

Restrictions will remain in place until March 30 as work continues on the £300,000 Laurencekirk Northbound Merge project, under the supervision of BEAR Scotland.

The improvements at the north junction have been considered necessary to cope with increased traffic as a result of the continuing growth of the town.

As many as 900 houses could go up to the north of Laurencekirk in the next 13 years, under the proposals included in the Local Plan for the area.

Campaigners have called for a flyover at Laurencekirk’s southern junction for many years.

Three months ago, a report produced by Transport Scotland revealed that the cost of a flyover at the accident blackspot would be a minimum of £13.5 million.

The report was ordered by Transport Minister Keith Brown after previous costings put the figure at anything between £4 million and £23 million.

The cost-refinement exercise was intended to provide greater certainty to potential developers on the likely costs involved.

All the junctions at Laurencekirk will be monitored for three years following completion of the new slip road as part of Transport Scotland’s accident reduction process.

The North East Safety Camera Partnership will also continue to operate in the area.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee has put forward the suggestion of what might proved to be a cheaper junction design.

In the knowledge that Transport Scotland have no plans for a grade-separated junction, members decided to pursue an alternative.

Junction campaigner Jill Fotheringham put forward the idea of a split level junction.

The idea arose from a suggestion put forward in the BBC documentary “Britain’s Killer Roads” which was broadcast in November. It was voiced by an independent roads engineer consulted by the programme makers.

Angus North and Mearns MSP Nigel Don has arranged a meeting to discuss the junction between officials of both the Aberdeenshire and Angus councils and transport partnership NESTRANS. The meeting is due to take place on Monday.

North-east MSPs Mark McDonald and Nanette Milne both spoke in support of trying to find an alternative solution at the petitions committee saying the junction was dangerous and something had to be done.