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ELECTION 2021: Upgrades at Toll of Birness matter of urgency

By Kyle Ritchie

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Vital A90 upgrades at Toll of Birness must be a priority for the next Parliament, according to the Scottish Conservatives.

The party’s Aberdeenshire East candidate, Stewart Whyte, said concrete timescales need to be given for upgrading the route to avoid any more fatalities between Ellon and Toll of Birness.

In its north-east manifesto, the Scottish Conservatives has pledged to upgrade the road as a matter of urgency.

The party has also backed proposals to install a roundabout at both the Toll of Birness and Cortes junctions as well as introducing "2+1 lanes" further north, to Peterhead and Fraserburgh, to enable safer overtaking.

The measures have been included in transport body Nestrans’ 2040 strategy, which outlines the areas it will prioritise over the next two decades.

It comes after the SNP promised to dual the major route 14 years ago. Alex Salmond said the first decision he would make if he got elected as First Minister would be to dual the road between Ellon and Peterhead, with a decision being made within 100 days of him gaining office.

Mr Whyte has now written to the transport secretary for answers, describing the route as terrifying.

Stewart Whyte and Gillian Owen at the A90 Toll of Birness.
Stewart Whyte and Gillian Owen at the A90 Toll of Birness.

In his letter, he said: “Fast forward more than 5000 days since Alex Salmond’s false promise and the SNP now won’t even commit to the idea nevermind put this pledge into action.

“In this time, we have had a terrifying number of collisions on the road, many of which have tragically resulted in lives being lost.

“The Toll of Birness is the only junction designed of its kind in Scotland which in its current form is not safe.

“I urge you to also support Nestrans in giving some clarity on if you are behind these proposals, how much you will invest and some timescales for the project.”

Gillian Owen, who runs the Why Stop at Ellon campaign, has backed Stewart Whyte’s letter, saying the upgrade needs to happen as a “matter of urgency”.

She said: “The Scottish Government has been in the slow lane for the last 14 years on upgrading the A90 at the Toll of Birness and this needs to change.

“For too long commuters have had to contend with daily accidents and near misses on the road.

“Lives have been lost yet the SNP seem to be totally oblivious to the safety concerns at the Toll of Birness.

“I fully back Stewart Whyte and the Scottish Conservative’s north-east manifesto in ensuring the Toll of Birness is upgraded.”

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