The lead campaigner behind plans for a flyover at a Mearns blackspot has spoken of her delight after seeing the designs for the first time.
A public exhibition was held yesterday to showcase three possible solutions to the deadly A90/A937 junction near Laurencekirk after a 13-year campaign.
The trunk road has previously been named as one of the most dangerous in the UK with the Laurencekirk stretch experiencing a string of fatalities — most notably in 2001 when a 19-day period saw five lives lost in three separate crashes.
Campaigners had celebrated news that £24 million in funding was to be handed over by the Scottish Government for improvements in January last year.
Fighting back tears after seeing the plans for the first time, lead campaigner Jill Fotheringham said: “I’m emotional. I feel like greeting, I really do.
“We have never been here before. A lot of people thought it wasn’t coming but to get the reassurance that it really is happening is such a relief.
“It has been 13 years since we started. My 14-year-old son has never known a time when I wasn’t doing this. We have gone so long being told that we didn’t need it.”
Two of the options involve the creation of a grade-separated junction at the dual carriageway’s deadly meeting point with the A937, and the third centres on realignment of that route to a flyover at the north end of the town.
Though pleased to see the plans take shape, Jill added that the likely 2020 completion date was “frustrating”.
“The timescale is unacceptable,” she said.
“Every day the junction is there, it means the possibility of another fatality. Another few years is daunting but at least by raising awareness we have helped make the junction safer until the flyover is built.
“If I was pushed, I would say the third option is the best. It deals with both junctions whereas the first two options only deal with the south one. Ultimately though, any of the options will make the road safer.”
Scottish Conservative MSP for the North East region, Liam Kerr, also criticised the timescale, describing a possible four-year wait as “very concerning”.
Mairi Gougeon, SNP MSP for Angus North and Mearns, however, said the time was needed to ensure the plan chosen was the correct one.
She said: “Some will continue to feel frustrated at how long it takes to go from design to build but this is a major project and it takes time to get it right.
“The most important thing is there is a clear commitment from the Scottish Government to invest in a new Laurencekirk flyover.
“It is much wanted, much needed and long-awaited.”
The hall was busy throughout the day with Transport Scotland representatives on hand to explain any queries from members of the public.
Montrose residents Sandy and Joyce Reid, who regularly use the A937 to visit Laurencekirk and Aberdeen, said their preferred option would be a flyover at the southern junction.
Sandy said: “I think the third option would mean traffic would be backed up coming from Aberdeen.
“The section of road between the roundabouts would be too busy, especially in the mornings.
“Mearns Academy and Mearns Sports Centre get a lot of traffic so I could see that being a problem.
“Option one and two are much better.”
The public are able to give feedback on the plans up until November 27 with designers then moving on to chose a final design.