So how do you solve a problem like the A947?
This busy commuter route is used by people from all across the Turriff and District ward to get to and from work, shopping and the school run.
Many people, myself included think that the road needs some serious upgrading in places. I remember the first time I came to Turriff to stay with my in-laws in 1999, talking to my late father-in-law outside their small holding, he told me how there were plans for upgrading the A947 and how it was going to bypass various places on its route.
In almost 20 years nothing has changed.
There have been consultations, reports and surveys carried out. There have been action plans written but there doesn’t appear to have been any action or really significant work carried out along the length of the road.
There are plans for more houses in various places, Turriff has a local development plan that will see maybe 700 houses being built. All these new homeowners need to work somewhere and I’m guessing, due to the lack of local employment opportunities this won’t be local to Turriff. So it is safe to say a large number of them will commute, using the A947 for at least some of their journey.
The gold standard that people seem to want from the A947 is dual carriageway all the way from Macduff to Dyce, I can’t say never, but I don’t think this will happen any time soon. The costs to do this are estimated to be £500 million, where does that money come from? The amount of time it will take to purchase land and property affected could mean the project drags on and on.
There needs to be more work done on the A96 bypass plan, as this could have positive effects on the A947 at a lower cost and be more achievable than trying to make the A947 a dual carriageway.
The council and Scottish Government could look at making the bottom end from Oldmeldrum to the AWPR dual carriageway, that won’t solve the issue of the road being so dangerous between Turriff and Oldmeldrum but it would help with the parts with the heaviest congestion. There are a number of areas at the north end of the A947 where there are lots of tight bends and not many opportunities to overtake safely. This means people take risks and try an overtake when it really isn’t the place to do so.
People have said there should be speed cameras or average speed cameras along the length of the road. I have to say I disagree with this. The safety camera partnership regularly monitors the A947 with a mobile speed camera. Putting average speed cameras up won’t solve the issue of people overtaking in the wrong places. I doubt it would stop people speeding, as I don’t think the average speed is that high generally.
I think the issues are more about safety than speeding, speed is nearly always a contributing factor in road traffic collisions, but this doesn’t mean the driver was speeding.
If I get elected I will work to try and get
- More regularly placed, larger passing places
- Crawler lanes where appropriate
- Review the on carriageway markings and refresh them from end to end
- Replace the cats eyes
- Review and upgrade the road surface
- Get more regular policing along the road
1 & 2 – if you can give larger and slower moving vehicles the chance to move off the main carriageway and keep moving, so people can pass them it could stop some of the more dangerous overtaking manoeuvres
3 & 4 – the road markings are very poor in places, let’s get them all re painted and get new brighter cats eyes installed
5 – review all the areas where and skid surfacing has been applied and look at other locations where it could be used
6 – get more regular policing on the road, speed cameras and average speed cameras won’t catch the drivers who overtake inappropriately, Police from the traffic unit will
Let’s stop writing action plans and start taking action.
Give me your #1 vote on May 4 and I’ll work for all the communities across Turriff and District to try and get practical solutions implemented.