Laurencekirk speed camera fire attack leaves drivers playing ‘Russian roulette’

The damaged speed camera at the Laurencekirk junction.
The damaged speed camera at the Laurencekirk junction.

MOTORISTS ARE playing “Russian roulette” at a Mearns blackspot after a speed camera was burned, it has been claimed.

Road safety campaigner Jill Fotheringham said people who use the notorious Laurencekirk junction on the A90 have been “left out on a limb”, after the camera there was destroyed by fire.

Ms Fotheringham said the device was the last line of defence at the deadly site, where she has led the fight for a flyover or grade-separated junction for over a decade.

“I first heard about it (the camera) just after Christmas and we are now hearing reports that vehicles are travelling on the northbound carriageway at well over the 50mph speed limit,” said Ms Fotheringham.

She added: “Because it is such a short stretch, regular commuters are not slowing down in the knowledge the camera is not working.

“Until we manage to get a proper crossing or flyover there, the speed camera is all we have, and it needs to be replaced as quickly as possible.

“You come out of that junction and you have no idea how fast a vehicle is going until it is on top of you.”

Four people have been killed and 15 seriously injured at the Laurencekirk junction, which crosses the busy main Dundee to Aberdeen route.

The camera was hit in a malicious fire attack on December 17 and Angus and Mearns MSP Nigel Don brought the matter to the attention of transport minister Keith Brown this week.

A protective orange hood has now been placed over the camera to make motorists aware it is out of use.

The ground at its base appears to have been dug away and the metal post is visibly scorched.

Ms Fotheringham claimed Grampian Police and the North East Safety Camera Partnership (Nescamp) promised a mobile speed van would be provided in the interim, but said it is yet to be seen.

“We have been left out on a limb,” she said. “I would like to appeal to motorists using the A90 to remember why the limit is 50mph and please slow down.”

Grampian Police confirmed the responsibility for mobile units lies with Nescamp.

Nescamp spokeswoman Julie Smith said the group shares Ms Fotheringham’s concerns and echoed her plea to motorists to slow down and stay within the speed limit.

She said: “Nescamp also wants to see the camera replaced as soon as possible and is working with the equipment and traffic management suppliers, along with Bear Scotland, to achieve this.

“With regard to mobile enforcement at the location, as no enforcement of that nature has previously taken place, an assessment has to be carried out to confirm it as suitable for the enforcement vehicle, ensuring that the site meets both the operational and safety needs of Nescamp.

“Mobile enforcement will take place at selected times until the fixed camera is back in operation and, until then, Nescamp and local road policing officers will continue to visit the site to deter speeders and enforce the well-publicised 50mph speed limit,” she added.

A recent study from Nestrans (North East of Scotland Transport Partnership) revealed traffic flow in the Laurencekirk area is to rocket in the coming years as more housing is built in the area.

The body recommended Transport Scotland give “further consideration” to junction upgrades.

gbletcher@thecourier.co.uk

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