AWPR concerns

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AS reported in last week’s Mearns Leader, concerns have been raised by locals in Stonehaven and District over the Stonehaven fastlink stretch of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and in particular its junction with the existing A90, and a petition has been launched to request Scottish Ministers to reconsider the proposed design of the Stonehaven junction.

The objectors are concerned that the current design will cause misery to Stonehaven during construction, with drivers likely to use the town as an alternative route to the Netherley road and they hope to convince ministers to review the design in favour of an alternative one by local landowner David Strang Steel.

Mr Strang Steel fears that the junction drawn up for Stonehaven - a roundabout controlled by traffic lights - will cause major congestion, and he would like to see his alternative design - which features a flyover junction rather than traffic lights to ensure that traffic would not need to stop and start.

But Transport Scotland have expressed fears that such a move could delay the whole AWPR project by a further four years, as accepting the amendments now would mean holding another public enquiry.

A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said: “The design of the proposed Stonehaven junction was fully investigated during the AWPR public local inquiry. During the inquiry the published proposed junction was assessed as being superior in cost, technical, operational and environmental terms. Any change to the AWPR as promoted would require new schemes and/or orders to be published for consultation with the possibility of a further public local inquiry and all that entails.

“The Scottish Government remains totally committed to the AWPR being built as soon as possible.”

North East MSP Alex Johnstone has said that Transport Scotland should make sure that the road is right the first time, unlike the junction at Laurencekirk where there have been repeated calls for a flyover.

He said: “I think the ministers would like to do something about it but they are genuinely worried that if they take a step backwards it may be used by protesters as an excuse to delay the construction.”

He added: “Twenty-five years after the Laurencekirk junction we’ve still not been able to get anything done. If we don’t do this right, Stonehaven will be the one we are talking about in 25 years.”