Concerns A90 Toll of Birness Upgrade will take another 20 years

Liam Kerr and Gillian Owen have urged new Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth to prioritise the A90 Toll of Birness after it wasn’t included in the Scottish Government’s flagship transport strategy.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 8:17 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 8:17 am
Cllr Gifford, Cllr Owen and MSP Liam Kerr have all voiced their concerns over the upgrade.
Cllr Gifford, Cllr Owen and MSP Liam Kerr have all voiced their concerns over the upgrade.

The north-east MSP and Ellon councillor slammed the SNP Government for “kicking the project into the long grass” amid fears it might be another 20 years before the road is upgraded.

It comes as the second strategic transports projects review (STPR2) made 45 recommendations to be actioned over the next two decades but failed to mention anything about the Toll of Birness.

Instead, the Scottish Government is prioritising improvements on the A90 through Dundee.

Mr Kerr said: “The north-east is the engine room of Scotland yet the Toll of Birness has been left as an afterthought by this SNP-Green Government.

“It’s shocking this transport strategy hasn’t recognised the A90 north of Ellon and has instead kicked the proposals into the long grass.

“There continues to be a terrifying number of collisions on the road, many of which have tragically resulted in lives being lost.

“The prospect of waiting another 20 years for the Toll of Birness to be upgraded is unthinkable which is why I’m calling on new transport minister Jenny Gilruth to prioritise this blackspot once and for all.”

Cllr Owen, who runs the Why Stop at Ellon campaign, added: “I’m appalled that the Toll of Birness is absent from the STPR2. For too long commuters have had to contend with daily accidents and near misses on the road and it’s time for that to change.

“Numerous SNP transport ministers have been and gone yet every single one of them have turned a blind eye to the dangers at the Toll of Birness.

“I’m now calling on Jenny Gilruth to do the right thing and upgrade the road to prevent more lives from being lost.”

Councillor Jim Gifford has also voiced his concerns over the time scale.

The former leader of the council said: “As Aberdeenshire Council Leader, I met with the then Transport Minster Keith Brown as the AWPR works were nearing completion and advised him that as soon as the AWPR and the Balmedie Tipperty improvements were open the traffic issues on the A90 would all be moved to Ellon and that improvements there should be his next priority. That has proved to be absolutely correct.

“Now we see that this work is not even on their “to-do” list which will be very disappointing for everyone who drives this road on a daily basis.

“The traffic assessments that we saw showed that the Toll of Birness was already a problem but that it would become virtually unusable at peak times in a few years’ time if traffic volumes continued to grow – as they surely will when the many developments in towns north of Ellon are completed in the coming years.

“Will Transport Scotland wait until that happens before they start to do something about it or will they get serious about road safety in the North-East, use the traffic assessments and business cases that are already in their hands and give this project the priority it deserves!”