Long-awaited safety improvements at a notorious junction on a busy north-east trunk route could be delayed even further due to local complaints.
The spot between the A90 Aberdeen to Dundee route and the A937 Laurencekirk to Montrose route has been the site of a great deal of accidents and near-misses over the years.
Between October and December 2019, 1,753 motorists were caught speeding at the stretch of A90 passing Laurencekirk – almost twice the number of incidents recorded on the rest of the road during the same period.
Safety campaigners have been calling for improvements for more than 15 years.
Progress has recently been made by Transport Scotland, and initial plans were shown to local residents earlier this year.
But in a letter to Angus North and Mearns MSP Mairi Gougeon, Transport Scotland’s chief executive Roy Brannen revealed it has received a “number of objections to the proposals” and would “continue to negotiate with objectors to try and resolve concerns where possible”.
Mr Brannen added that “should we be unsuccessful in removing all objections, a public local inquiry may be required”.
Safety campaigner and Laurencekirk resident Jill Fotheringham said: “It’s disappointing, but in fairness we need to see what these objections are first.
“It’s a life-saving project.”
Ms Gougeon said: “This is ultimately about road safety and we have only reached this stage because of the long and tireless campaign spearheaded by Jill Fotheringham.
“It is absolutely vital that, while following the correct processes, there is no unnecessary delay in the commencement of these works.”
North-east regional MSP Liam Kerr has called for clarity on timescales of the project.
He said: “Transport Scotland can’t delay on this any longer – it’s vital they do everything they can to resolve these issues without the need for holding up the process.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said the Scottish Government is committed to completing the work “as soon as possible.”
He added: “We received a number of objections to the proposals and continue to negotiate with objectors to try and resolve concerns where possible.
“However, should we be unsuccessful in removing all objections a public local inquiry may be required.
“As with all trunk road projects this is the appropriate forum for considering objections received and not withdrawn.
“Delivery of the scheme can only commence if it is approved under the relevant statutory procedures and thereafter a timetable for its progress can be set.”