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Road strategy continues to hinge on A96 dualling

By David Porter

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Garioch councillors have welcomed work which has been carried out on the A947 in an effort to improve road safety.

At the digital meeting of the Garioch 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.

A Member Officer Working Group was set up several year's ago to review progress on the development and delivery of improvement projects included in the A947 Route Improvement Strategy.

Addressing the meeting roads officer Robert McGregor started by saying: "Given the constraints on the capital plan we have to caution on the future viability of major works on this route at this time.

"But we are still prioritising works to improve driver experience and safety

Councillor Lesley Berry said: "This is a really important road and to see some action is welcomed.

"On collisions bends are a huge factor on this road, what can we continue to do to mitigate incidents?."

Responding roads officer Andrew Wilkinson said: "Money from Nestrans was used for road surfacing and retexturing which has been carried out and will continue to done.

Sebastian Leslie
Sebastian Leslie

Much of updates to the route on the section which runs from Dyce to Newmachar hinge on the completion of options from Transport Scotland on the planned dualling route for the A96, a point raised by councillor Sebastian Leslie.

Responding Mr McGregor said: "We were surprised that Transport Scotland brought forward junction changes into the public domain last week as they had not made any indication of this, but it is welcome that the scheme is moving forward.

"At present we are not aware of any other movement on the final decisions of the route as this plays heavily into the future of the A947 and any upgrades at the Aberdeen end."

On the issue of roads casualties, councillor Marion Ewenson asked if casualty figure reduction could be attributed to works that had been carried out.

To answer Mr Wilkinson said: "There are a multitude of factors which have contributed, we have concentrated on more police enforcement which has almost tripled the enforcement hours on this route.

"Work on signage and marker posts have also had an effect to reduce collisions to almost half.

"It plays across the whole network and as well, in car safety and good response times form emergency services have improved this."

Councillor Marion Ewanson added on the strategy: "We now have an issue of people not using public transport and it will prove difficult to improve this at present on this route."

Accident and severity levels have been reduced and this was welcomed, but fatalities while reduced are still occurring, councillor Neil Bailie asked if there was any more that could be done to reduce this.

In answer Mr Wilkinson said: "With the fatal incidenst there has been a national plateau and we are at a stage where we have addressed as many issues as we can, but with a 60mph evolved route the risks to human life is always there.

"Our target is of course zero fatalities but practically we are coming to the limits of what we can do within the budget we have."

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