Calls have been made for improvements at a notorious Aberdeen roundabout to be completed as quickly as possible, as new figures lay bare the problems caused by the bottleneck over recent years.
The notorious Haudagain roundabout, which bisects the A92 Stonehaven to Blackdog road and the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness route, has been a major frustration for motorists for many years.
Now, figures obtained by The Press and Journal show that police have been called to the pinch point more than 400 times in the space of five years.
The Scottish Government has commenced a £30 million project to end gridlock at the site in the north of the city, with hundreds of homes being demolished to create a new link road from North Anderson Drive to Auchmill Drive.
But Scottish Conservative MSP Liam Kerr last night said “everything must be done” to ensure the scheme is completed on time – and accused the SNP of allowing safety problems to “spiral out of control” at the roundabout over the years.
He said: “The Haudagain has been dubbed one of the worst roundabouts in Europe and these figures illustrate why.
“The SNP Government has allowed safety issues associated with the roundabout to spiral out of control over the years.
“The Scottish Government has been reckless with other projects such as the AWPR, splashing an extra £64 million on settling disputes associated with the bypass – it’s simply unacceptable.
“Everything must be done to ensure timescales and budgets are kept to for the Haudagain project, which is desperately needed for commuters as well as those living in the area.”
A decade ago, it was estimated that traffic delays at peak times caused by the Haudagain were costing the local economy up to £30 million each year.
And in 2011, drivers nominated the roundabout as the worst in the UK.
It has now emerged that, since the 2014/15 financial year, the police have been called to the spot 403 times.
A total of 160 of these calls were due to collisions, 151 due to “road traffic matters” and a further eight in response to “road traffic offences”.
Police were called to the Haudagain 90 times in 2018/19, compared to 63 times in the previous year.
In March, 89-year-old Pearl Forbes died after being involved in a three-car crash there.
She died three days after the incident, while the driver of the car she was in sustained serious injuries.
Neil Greig, of road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, said motorists had been forced to wait “long enough” for remedial work at the roundabout.
He said: “With the advent of the AWPR, I had hoped things might improve but it is clear they have not.
“Any delay would lead to more congestion and unnecessary pollution in a built up area.
“Aberdeen drivers have waited long enough to get to the point when we don’t hear about Haudigain delays on every traffic report.”
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “Construction works are well under way on this new junction layout and our main contractor, Farrans Construction, has already made significant progress on critical earthworks and utility diversions.
“The project is on target for completion in spring 2021.
“When complete, it will help reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability on this key route, as well as providing a safer route for pedestrians and cyclists.”
A new £30 million link road is being created to end decades of misery for motorists passing through the Haudagain roundabout.
It is being built to connect North Anderson Drive and Auchmill Drive, creating what has become known as the “Middlefield Triangle” to take congestion away from the traffic pinch point.
Hundreds of homes have been demolished, and a supermarket along with 187 new homes could be built on the newly created patch of land.
In 2017, then transport minster Humza Yousaf said: “Once completed, the Haudagain improvement scheme will bring much-needed relief for drivers and communities in the area.”
But the following year, improvement works were delayed due to a bidder withdrawing from the multi-million pound project.
North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald last night said it was imperative that there are no further delays in completing the project.
He said: “There are fewer traffic queues at the Haudagain since the AWPR finally opened but getting safely through the roundabout can still be a challenge, especially for less experienced or less confident drivers.
“A separate lane for vehicles turning left from North Anderson Drive onto the A96 heading out of town will certainly help, although most drivers will still cross the roundabout itself – and care will still be needed in doing so.
“SNP ministers said they would deliver the Haudagain improvements as soon as the AWPR was open, but obviously we are still waiting.
“If the government wants to end delays at the Haudagain altogether, and increase safety, they must make sure there is no more delay in getting the work done.”