Fastlink junction fears

WITH the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route having cleared what will hopefully be its final legal hurdle last week, the focus in Stonehaven and District has switched to looking at the Stonehaven fastlink stretch of the AWRP and in particular its junction with the existing A90.

The current design of the Stonehaven fastlink junction, as put forward by Transport Scotland, is of concern, not just to Stonehaven residents but to everyone who lives south of Stonehaven.

Those objecting to the plans say that after the Slug Road, and before the Netherly Road, there is no alternative diversion to Aberdeen. This short section of the A90 will see the focal point of the Stonehaven junction design for the Fastlink.

In the Transport Scotland Fastlink Stonehaven junction design, the A90 road bridge (which the B979 Stonehaven to Netherly road passes under) will need to be widened which will divert traffic through the town. When this work is underway all A90 traffic will obviously be reduced to a contraflow over the bridge and this will lead to massive delays. People will try to bypass the A90 during this time, by going through the town to access the Netherley road. Landowners Sluie Estates have proposed an alternative design, which would have drastically less impact on Stonehaven and folk from the south.

The estate and their supporters want the public to compare the designs side by side. They feel the majority will favour the alternative design, not just for commonsense but for traffic flow in the future.

The objectors say that many people simply think “Back the Bypass get to Dyce quicker.” They say that both designs will allow for improved transport links, but one (the official one) will cause misery during construction and thereafter and the other will reduce the impact during construction and after. The objectors say the Stonehaven junction design is flawed, but there has been insufficient examination of the design.

A petition has been launched to request Scottish Ministers to reconsider the proposed design of the Stonehaven junction. It can be found at

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/alternative-stonehaven-junction-for-awpr-fast-link/

Support is growing for the view that the Transport Scotland design is flawed. It is claimed that the official design was done to meet a budget whereas the alternative has been put forward by a local landowner, yet they claim the options would cost the same.

The objectors say they are not asking to delay the project. Both designs involve the same landowner and all they are asking for is a review to consider the most efficient option. They say the new road will have a massive impact on all A90 users and the time to get things right is at the outset. The message to the local population is that if you feel there is merit in seeking a design review, please sign the petition and forward on to friends and family and work colleagues who live in Stonehaven and to the south. Maps of the alternative designs can be found on P10.

Angus North and Mearns MSP Nigel Don said: “Planning for the AWPR is at an advanced stage and alternative routes for the Stonehaven junction were considered carefully by Transport Scotland. I would certainly listen to any practical proposals which people may have, but it would be hard to support any further delay to this hugely important project.”