Technical advisers are closely monitoring that location. Should the monitoring indicate that enhancements are required, considerations will be discussed with the local authority. In the meantime, we ask everyone using the new route to proceed with additional caution until they are fully familiar with the layout.
I offer my deepest sympathies to those who were affected by the accident on the A90 last night. As police investigations are on-going, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time. As part of standard policy, I have asked my officials to meet representatives of Police Scotland and the operating company to obtain more information.
I echo the cabinet secretary’s remarks in relation to yesterday evening’s tragedy.
The A90/A944 Kingswells south junction at the Aberdeen western peripheral route has caused concern for my constituents. Although the AWPR has been a great boost to the area and has reduced journey time significantly, there are issues at peak times with the queuing of traffic and the difficulty of negotiating the roundabout at the A944. Given that temporary traffic lights, which operate at peak times, exist further along the A944 at Kingswells, is the cabinet secretary open to considering that option for this junction to ensure the smooth flow of traffic? If so, what timescale would there be for that?
As Mark McDonald will appreciate, with a major piece of infrastructure such as the AWPR, there can be a period of bedding down before local traffic plans are developed for the use of the new road and how it impacts on secondary roads that come off the road. That work is presently being evaluated to see how travel patterns are being established, including at the very junction to which Mark McDonald refers.
Technical advisors are undertaking assessments now. They will then evaluate whether further measures need to be taken, including the suggestion that Mark McDonald has made. They will report back to Transport Scotland, which will engage with the local authority to explore what further measures might be necessary at that junction.
The cabinet secretary mentioned assessments. I am sure that he recognises that the welcome impact of the AWPR extends beyond the immediate vicinity of the new road and to the wider road network. Does he agree that judgments on future road network development across the region should be based on traffic assessments that take into account the impact of the AWPR?
The AWPR is having a significant positive effect on north-east Scotland, and it will have implications for other road developments in the area in the years ahead, including the proposals for the A96 with regard to how it might link in with the AWPR and how traffic flows might change. That is why it is important, during the bedding-down period, as people start to establish use of the route, that any information that is used to take forward proposals for other road developments reflects the changing patterns of road use in the area. Decisions on any other major trunk road investments in the area will be informed by up-to-date data.
I, too, echo the cabinet secretary’s comments in relation to the tragic events that we heard about.
The cabinet secretary will be aware that years of real-terms cuts to funding by the Scottish National Party mean that Aberdeenshire Council is now the worst in Scotland with regard to the standard of its bridges. Many of them cannot meet the demands of modern traffic, especially that arising from road developments. What support will the Scottish Government provide to Aberdeenshire Council to repair or replace its deteriorating bridge infrastructure before it is too late?
It is a bit rich to hear a Conservative talking about cutting budgets, given the track record of the Conservatives at the United Kingdom level.
As Liam Kerr is aware, if the bridge is on a local road, which is the responsibility of the local authority, it will be for the local authority to decide on the action that is taken.