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‘Dangerous’ Laurencekirk A90 stretch scene of eight serious crashes in just four years

The junction cannot be upgraded yet due to objections.

A campaigner has demanded action at a “dangerous” stretch of the A90 after two fatal crashes and six other serious collisions since designs for an upgrade were first revealed.

The dual carriageway stretch near Laurencekirk has long been deemed unsafe but despite a commitment to build a flyover, no building work has begun yet.

The upgrade is currently being held up over a planning wrangle and local resident Jill Fotheringham, who has spearheaded the effort, says lives are being lost amid the delays.

Motorbike crash just latest serious incident

The latest statistics for crashes on the stretch since 2018 show Police Scotland have attended two incidents in which someone died — in 2018 and 2020.

Six more crashes resulted in serious injury while a further three “slight” crashes along the Angus caused minor injuries.

The most recent took place in July this year involving a motorbike and a van on the northbound carriageway.

The motorcyclist was left with serious injuries.

One of those to object to the flyover, Aberdeenshire Council, has raised concerns residents in nearby Oatyhill would need to drive over an unsafe bridge under the current plan.

Ms Fotheringham says officials at the council should withdraw the objection to save lives.

“If anyone else dies on that stretch of road then the decision makers at Aberdeenshire Council will have blood on their hands,” she said.

All I want is to help stop people dying on this stretch. Unfortunately, that’s still happening.

“Shame on them for delaying this because they know how badly it’s needed.

“I would urge objectors to look at why they are doing so and make sure it’s worth risking people’s lives on a daily basis.

“All I want is to help stop people dying on this stretch. Unfortunately, that’s still happening.”

Another recent crash not included in the statistics, which took place in November just south of the Laurencekirk stretch, led to two motorists being hospitalised.

Aberdeenshire Council says it has legitimate safety concerns for local residents and is hopeful a solution can be found soon.

A90 flyover delays

The crashes, half of which occurred last year, all took place approximately five miles either side of the B9120 junction closest to the town.

Incidents in which nobody was injured are not recorded.

The Scottish Government first confirmed five years ago the flyover would be built and said it should be open by 2022.

The first proposals were put on display by designers from Amey at the end of 2017.

Artist impression showing plans for the Laurencekirk junction.

A “full diamond” grade-separated junction is planned to take the realigned A937 above the dual carriageway.

Drivers avoiding junction

Many stretches of the A90 contain junctions which road safety campaigners say are unforgiving to emerging traffic while some locals avoid using some junctions altogether.

Drivers often find it difficult to pull out or cross the carriageway amid heavy traffic on what is the main route between Dundee and Aberdeen.

Ms Fotheringham added: “People are avoiding the A937 junction and that is putting more pressure on other junctions.

Jill Fotheringham
Jill Fotheringham has been campaigning for years to have a flyover built.

“I believe many of these accidents that are happening, even if they are not at the problem junction itself, could be avoided if the flyover was built.

“The area is so dangerous, it really is. It’s not fit-for-purpose.

“There’s also lots of houses being built in the area and that’s just going to add to the problems if the flyover isn’t built.”

A motorcyclist was seriously hurt in a crash on the A90 near Laurencekirk in July 2021.

Ms Fotheringham says she has been pleased with the determination of officials at Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government’s transport minister Michael Matheson.

She said they have shown “100% support” for the plan and appear keen to see the flyover built as soon as possible.

The A90 now has average speed cameras — installed in 2017 — while there is a speed limit of 50mph in a half mile section around the A937 junction at the Laurencekirk to Montrose road.

However, the majority of drivers caught breaking the speed limit do so at the 50mph stretch along the notorious junction.

Objections to flyover remain

The £24m revamp cannot go ahead yet because Transport Scotland, who is in charge of the plans, are dealing with four objections.

There is no time limit for the objections to be dealt with, meaning the flyover is still years away from opening.

Transport Scotland says the organisation is still trying to resolve the objections so the project can move forward legally.

The A90 stretch is deemed dangerous. Photograph by Chris Sumner.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said a public local inquiry may be required if the objections cannot be resolved, further pushing back the plans.

Council expect solution to be found

A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Council said: “Aberdeenshire Council is committed to supporting the project and anticipate that a technical solution can be found to both deliver the long awaiting junction improvement, but also maintain safe access to the dwellings south of Oatyhill.

“Aberdeenshire Council continues to meet regularly with Transport Scotland and their technical team to look at solutions, and is committed to maintaining a high level of partnership working on the project.”