INSTALLING signs and repainting lines at a dangerous A96 junction rather than installing a roundabout has been described as “doing the job on the cheap” amid calls from an MSP to dual the road in full.
Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett has been campaigning for upgrades to be made at the accident blackspot connecting the A96 at Huntly Tesco to the A920 Dufftown road following a spate of collisions and near misses.
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Work is currently being carried out by Transport Scotland to install flashing signs to advise road users of turning traffic at the junction while new road markings will also be painted.
It comes despite calls from Huntly residents, backed by Mr Burnett, to install a roundabout after a petition gathered almost 860 signatures.
During portfolio questions in parliament, the Scottish Conservative welcomed some form of action being taken but doesn’t believe it goes far enough to reduce the number of collisions at the junction.
He also urged the transport minister, Fiona Hyslop, to dual the road in full between Aberdeen and Inverness to alleviate safety concerns at several junctions along the route.
As part of the power-sharing deal, a review of the project costing almost £4 million was undertaken after the Greens raised “urgent” environmental impact concerns about fully dualling the A96 but has been delayed since December.
At Holyrood, he asked: “Any action is better than nothing but implementing a few signs and repainting the road seems to be doing it on the cheap.
“The A96 is the North-East’s most dangerous road, with nearly 300 collisions over the last seven years.
“Just a fortnight ago, another two people were hospitalised after an accident near Huntly.
“A local petition to install a roundabout to replace the junctions has received more than 850 signatures.
“Can the minister confirm what it will take for this SNP government to take action and commit to upgrading this dangerous road in full?”
In her response, Ms Hyslop said: “I wouldn’t diminish improvements as they are taking place.
“In terms of the A96, there is an ongoing review as Mr Burnett well knows and in terms of that commitment, we will take that forward with the publication of the review.”
Afterwards, Mr Burnett said: “The Huntly community want more than just a few signs and new road markings – they want a roundabout due to the dangerous state of the A96 which the Scottish Government has stalled on dualling despite pledging more than a decade ago.
“Motorists take their life into their own hands when crossing this road and the junction in its present form presents huge risks to people.
“These concerns would have been alleviated and wouldn’t have escalated to this point if the SNP Government kept to its promise of dualling the A96 in full.”