Groundwork investigation getting underway at A90 Laurencekirk junction

An eight-week project to investigate ground conditions in the vicinity of the A90/A937 Laurencekirk junction will begin later this month.

Starting on May 20th, the investigation will focus on informing the design phase of planned improvements to the junction to limit future congestion.

Potential disruption for travellers

As part of the project, a number of traffic management schemes will be imposed. This includes alternate single file traffic sections on the adjoining A937 side road, as well as temporary traffic lights.

A spokesperson for Transport Scotland stated: “We apologise for any inconvenience these works will cause and would thank road users and local communities in advance for their patience during the works.”

Motorists in the area are advised to plan their journeys in advance and to leave additional time to reach their destination during the project period.

Live updates on traffic volumes in the area will be available via the Traffic Scotland website, Twitter feed or Traffic Scotland radio.

The contractor will be monitoring all traffic volumes and will be adjusting traffic management schemes to ensure delays are kept to a minimum.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at FCS Scotland, adds: “Groundworks in the area will play a vital part in informing the future layout of the junction. It’s an essential step in delivering the best possible outcome for local businesses and the surrounding community.”

Communities benefit from updates on A9 dualling

Communities affected by the continuing upgrade of the A9 carriageway between Pass of Birnam and Tay Crossing will be able to attend several important events in the coming weeks.

Two community engagement events will be taking place at Birnam Arts and Conference Centre and will run from 11am to 9pm on Thursday and Friday, May 16th and 17th.

Why is it important to attend?

A range of routes for the new dualling of the A9 are being discussed at present, and details of each of the current options are being showcased at these drop-ins.

Members of the local community, as well as those affected by the changes to local transport infrastructure, will have a chance to find out more about the project so far and to air their opinions on each of the options.

Cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity Michael Matheson said: “I would encourage members of the local community, road users and anyone else with an interest in this scheme, to come along to one of the events in Birnam later this month to see the options being presented.

“We expect to identify a preferred option for this section of the route later this year.”

He added that this is a challenging part of the A9 dualling programme and therefore any input from local communities and interested parties will be welcomed by the design team.

Mr Matheson concluded the last round of events in March proved extremely enlightening and he has high hopes that these new events will prove similarly successful.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at FCS Scotland, adds: “Upgrades to the A9 will provide welcome benefits to the local community, economy and businesses in the area in the coming years. All those affected by the project should not miss their opportunity to have their say on the current plans.”

Transport (Scotland) Bill passes Stage 1 approval

Stage 1 approval for the new Transport (Scotland) Bill took place in the Scottish parliament at Holyrood earlier this month.

The new legislation paves the way for the introduction of cleaner, more sustainable and efficient transport infrastructure across the country in the years to come.

Focused on green development

Key to the legislation is a commitment to implement new schemes for the reduction of air pollution and the empowerment of local authorities to create consistent standards for transport.

The creation of a range of new low-emission zones (LEZs) in city centres up and down the country will help to reduce environmental pollution from transport in the coming years, the Scottish government claims.

Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, commented: “We have always been clear that LEZs have the potential to interact with a host of other transport issues, be that congestion, active travel, the improved feel of community space or the uptake of ultra-low-emission vehicles.”

Other measures set to be introduced in the Bill include further provision for smart ticketing, regional transport partnerships and the governance/regeneration of Scottish canals.

In addition, it examines provision for greater flexibility in bus services and the imposing of stricter controls on parking.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at FCS Scotland, adds: “Ensuring a greener tomorrow is at the heart of the new legislation. Seeing it pass Stage 1 approval is therefore an extremely positive development for Scottish transport.”

Local communities & STEM supported by A9 dualling programme

Transport Scotland has highlighted the ongoing support and benefits for local communities that have been involved in the delivery of the A9 dualling programme.

The body has welcomed the considerable benefits brought about through its associated Academy9 scheme.

What is Academy9?

Involvement in the Academy9 schools initiative has so far seen the uptake of STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – subjects become more accessible to young people in the area.

It aims to inspire and support young people to pursue careers in this challenging but highly rewarding field, with Academy9 supporting pupils through pre-school, school, college and university.

Cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity Michael Matheson stated: “While the benefits to road users are to be welcomed, we want to do lots more for the communities living along the A9 corridor.”

He added that the Academy9 programme provides an opportunity to invest in the country’s “next generation of engineers, designers and construction workers”.

“The A9 Dualling programme is about much more than building a road,” he concluded.

A special event has taken place this week at Aviemore, where the successes of the Academy9 scheme since its launch in 2015 have been showcased. More than 3,800 pupils and 120 teachers have been involved to date.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at FCS Scotland, adds: “Supporting more young people to get involved and excited in STEM subjects is a welcome benefit for all. STEM is an area facing considerable staff shortages at present, so promoting its uptake through the A9 dualling scheme is a fantastic result.”

Call for Brexit certainty for Scottish hauliers

There are growing calls for increased clarity on what a ‘no deal’ Brexit would mean for Scottish hauliers.

Scotland’s cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity Michael Matheson stated there needs to be more detail on how this possible outcome could impact the sector in the months ahead.

Calls for clarity not being heeded

Mr Matheson said: “The UK government has to provide urgent advice on how, and when, it will address the very real concerns of our hauliers, their customers and their employees, to allow the industry to plan adequately and ensure its long-term future.”

He argued there should be plans in place for every possible scenario and ‘no deal’ is something that is yet to be fully explored by officials in Westminster.

However, with the deadline for Brexit fast approaching – even with the possibility of a deferred exit date – Scottish haulage providers need to know how to sufficiently prepare for life outside of the EU.

Mr Matheson noted that with no bilateral agreements signed between the UK and EU, and no further information being provided, it is now imperative that action is taken to maintain the smooth operation of many businesses.

At present, there are few businesses that hold the requisite permits to continue operating as normal after Brexit if no deal is struck.

“Scotland’s hauliers and their customers are extremely concerned,” he concluded.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at FCS Scotland, adds: “Brexit has the potential to cause significant disruption to Scottish hauliers travelling between the UK and Europe. It therefore requires urgent clarity to allow the industry to effectively plan for the future.”