New evidence proves Mearns flyover need

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A new report provides “solid, significant new evidence” to support a flyover on the A90 at Laurencekirk, according to Angus North & Mearns MSP Nigel Don. Mr Don will now write to Transport Minister Keith Brown to press for an urgent re-examination of the case for a safer crossing.

“To anyone who crosses the busy A90 at Laurencekirk, it is perfectly obvious that the current junction is unsafe and requires upgrading,” said Mr Don.

“But the official figures used by Transport Scotland did not appear to reflect the true situation. This new evidence can only strengthen the case for action before someone … very probably someone elderly - is killed at this location.”

Acting on a letter from Mr Don, the Aberdeen City & Shire transport partnership NESTRANS carried out an expert review of previous studies.

NESTRANS found that already there are two way flows of more than 3,000 vehicles a day – on the minor roads – at both the north and south junctions.

“Official guidance dictates that if we were building a junction to handle this level of traffic, it wouldn’t look like any of the crossings at Laurencekirk,” said Mr Don.

The NESTRANS review also cast doubt on the way future traffic projections had been calculated. “The assumption has been that traffic at this location would grow at a low rate. In fact, the rate of growth has been much higher.”

NESTRANS also pointed out that Laurencekirk is zoned to double in size by 2023, and that there would be significant increases in the population at other locations such as Edzell, Brechin and Montrose, all of which would generate more traffic.

NESTRANS note that estimates of traffic to be generated by sites zoned for new industrial development appear “vastly underestimated” - ten times lower than they should be.

The report also mentions that the new Mearns Academy will have flexibility to expand to 840 pupils, 200 more than the current roll.

Since most pupils currently come from the area around Laurencekirk, this will generate yet more traffic movements involving children.

The report states, “This scale of predicted increase in traffic flow in future years is well in excess of that considered within previous studies commissioned by Transport Scotland and indicates that further consideration of junction upgrades on the A90 Trunk Road in the Laurencekirk area at the earliest opportunity may be warranted.”

Mr Don said, “I am indebted to NESTRANS for their painstaking analysis of the statistics which demonstrated that until now, Transport Scotland and Scottish Ministers have not had the full information about this very dangerous junction.

“One of the more disturbing facts in the report is that elderly drivers are more likely to have accidents when turning right at junctions such as those at Laurencekirk, and the size of the elderly population in Laurencekirk is greater than the average for Aberdeenshire.

“Another is that 32% - nearly a third – of speeds recorded at the southern junction were above the 50 mph limit.

“I believe the NESTRANS review provides solid, significant new evidence for the construction of a safer crossing at Laurencekirk, and I will be asking the Minister to consider this new evidence carefully.”