Call for action on local safety concerns at Forres A96 junction

Local safety concerns over Market Street junction should be noted.
Local safety concerns over Market Street junction should be noted.

TRANSPORT SCOTLAND SHOULD look again at local concerns over a junction on the A96 Forres bypass.

That is the view of Labour MSP David Stewart, who has taken up the issue following concerns expressed to him by a local constituents frustrated at the lack of action over the issue.

Concerns have been raised over the junction at Market Street, the scene of several accidents and near-misses that prompted local demands that Transport Scotland look at the issue. However, the national roads agency insisted that they have no plans to alter the junction.

Now Mr Stewart says he will write to Transport Scotland asking them to think again. He said: “I have been watching this particular issue develop and there are some points which appear to me to be relevant.

“I note on some social media sites it is claimed that there is no such thing as a bad road or junction, just bad drivers. This is only partly true. Of course driver behaviour is a key component in road collisions, but there are other contributory factors, some of which could include poor road design or layout.

“Collision statistics are one way of measuring how dangerous a road or junction is, but these statistics do not cater for the many near misses and only calculate the occasions when drivers have been unlucky and have been involved in a collision.”

The MSP noted that local concerns over near-misses should be a factor in deciding if action is required – in particular where one life lost has to be regarded as one too many.

He added: “It seems to me that a Route Action Plan (RAP) needs to be carried out if not already done – and there needs to be some measure or calculations with regard to the number of near misses, of which I am told there are several a day.

“Collision statistics on their own are not enough. Based on the outcome of these actions, it can be determined if work needs to be carried out to make the junction safer. For example, at the very least can there be better signage and road markings, do we need to make the junction a turn left only?

“With a dualling programme under way, although some time off, I cannot see this junction being made in to a roundabout and I would have to question whether there was room to make it into a roundabout in any case.

“Whatever we do, we cannot just turn a blind eye to all the concerns raised and just wave away these issues, we need a proper look at all the surrounding evidence and take whatever action is deemed appropriate to prevent collisions and near misses. As a Regional MSP, I will do my bit to see what I can do to help in this matter.”