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Concerns raised over A947 road improvement strategy

By Kyle Ritchie

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Formartine councillors have raised concerns about the lack of progress made with an improvement strategy for the A947 road.

At the digital meeting of the Formartine Area Committee on Tuesday, councillors assessed an update on the work so far and future actions.

Over the past 10 years a series of route accident studies, engineering interventions and enforcement measures have been undertaken.

Councillors in the Formartine area have expressed concerns over the A947 Route Improvement Strategy.
Councillors in the Formartine area have expressed concerns over the A947 Route Improvement Strategy.

Following on from that a long-term route improvement strategy was developed and approved by the council's infrastructure services committee in 2016, which aimed to tie all the work together and set a clear and coherent future strategy for the route.

A Member Officer Working Group was then set up in 2018 to ensure progress continues to be made, and is visible, in terms of implementing elements of the A947 Route Improvement Strategy.

Its remit is to review progress on the development and delivery of improvement projects included in the A947 Route Improvement Strategy; examine the delivery of initiatives related to the management of the route; look at communication initiatives related to the road; and to consider how wider regional policies and programmes affect the delivery of the A947 Route Improvement Strategy.

Turriff and District councillor Anne Stirling said during the meeting she expressed disappointment and concern about the progress that has been made.

She said: "I would take the opportunity to express my disappointment and concern.

"I would question the outputs and the outcomes of a strategy that is 10 years old and indeed what has changed?

"The concern at the time when this was first implemented was significant and it was thought there was considerable amount of work required along the route to actually improve the journey experience for everybody.

"I remain concerned that this strategy has not delivered."

Councillor Stirling outlined that she had received concerns from constituents about a particular corner south of Turriff, where 25 accidents had taken place.

In the report that went before councillors it was outlined that progress had been made on the short and medium-term objectives set out in the action plan, with some of the tasks being an on-going process like maintenance and enforcement.

It said longer term aspirations for the route have been delayed due to waiting for the A96 dualling route selection, any potential effects of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and Covid-19.

It added the focus and direction of the Member Officer Working Group in the future will be on determining which of the long-term schemes should be developed and reported to the council's infrastructure services committee in spring.

Turriff and District councillor Alistair Forsyth agreed with councillor Stirling.

He said: "I have also received concerns from constituents.

"The modern day tractors travel a lot faster and are extremely difficult to pass. The road has also got wetter."

The report also revealed that the number of casualties and collisions on the road has fallen over the last five years, but that serious and fatal accidents do still happen on the route

Committee chairwoman Ellon and District councillor Isobel Davidson questioned how their could be a reduction when there had not been enough improvement work carried out.

Principal road safety engineer Andrew Wilkinson said this was due to increased police and speed camera enforcement, skid resistance had been improved on corners, there were safety warnings continuously along the route and in car safety had improved.

The area committee called for the Member Officer Working Group to meet in the coming weeks so the concerns that were raised during the meeting could be communicated.

The update is also set to go before the Banff and Buchan area committee and Garioch area committee.

Related story:

Route safety strategy comes under scrutiny

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