Scottish Government Transport Minister Humza Yousaf has today accepted calls to confirm a start date for the A90 Laurencekirk junction upgrade.
In January, the Scottish Government said it was investing £24 million in the design and construction of a new grade-separated junction at Laurencekirk.
The project, which was part of a package of additional investment alongside the Aberdeen City Region Deal, is set to improve road safety and bring economic benefits to the surrounding areas.
Transport Scotland announced in September the intention to award the contract for the next phases of design for the junction upgrade to the A90 at Laurencekirk to Amey.
The contract award will see Amey undertake route option assessment work and develop a preferred junction option, leading to the preparation of draft road orders.
Today at the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, Minister for Transport and Islands, Humza Yousaf, put worried campaigners and residents minds at ease by fully confirming the project.
Following calls from North East MSP Mike Rumbles and MSP for Angus North and Mearns Mairi Evans, Mr Yousaf has agreed to write to the committee on Rural Economy and Connectivity in the near future with an explicit commencement date for the project.
Mr Rumbles said: “The welcome news follows earlier disappointment that local people may have to wait another decade for improvements to the dangerous A90/A937 Laurencekirk junction.
“This is very welcome news indeed.
“The campaign to improve road safety at the Laurencekirk junction started over a decade ago, when the Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Nicol Stephen put it at the top of the agenda for funding in 2006.
“But since the SNP came into power in 2007 it has fallen foul of backtracking and broken promises.
‘Temporary measures’ installed in 2006 are still in place.
“I am very much looking forward to the Minister’s confirmation of a start date for the work.
“In the meantime the committee have agreed that the active petition will remain in place until that happens.”
Ms Evans said: “A funding announcement for the junction was made earlier in the year but since then I have continued to be contacted by concerned residents and businesses worried that it will not be going ahead.
“Today, at the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, I asked the Minister for Transport for a categorical assurance that the junction at Laurencekirk will be going ahead and this was confirmed.
“The junction has been an incredibly long and ongoing issue in the Angus and Mearns region - there are the safety concerns as well as the fact that lack of a safe junction and access to the A90 has been significantly hampering development in both Angus and Aberdeenshire.”
Jill Fotheringham, a florist from Montrose, has been spearheading the campaign for a flyover at the junction since 2004.
Ms Evans added: “I would like to thank campaigner Jill Fotheringham for her incredible hard work and determination in keeping this issue high on the agenda and for helping to get the campaign this far.
“Both Aberdeenshire and Angus Councils and local MSPs over the years, including my predecessor Nigel Don, also campaigned for this and it is thanks to this work we are seeing the junction come to fruition.
“Jill’s petition was also heard by the committee today and it has been kept open until further progress on the junction is made.
“The Minister will also be providing the committee with indicative timescales for its delivery.
“I hope this news will reassure local residents, businesses and developers that the Laurencekirk Junction is indeed going ahead and will be delivered as soon as possible.”