Council / Black Gaet junction on council’s radar as concerns over safety continue

The south entrance to the junction. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

WORK is ongoing to assess traffic at the Black Gaet junction as concerns continue to be raised by members of the community over its safety.

The subject has been brought up frequently at recent meetings of the Gulberwick, Quarff and Cunningsburgh Community Council, with a number of factors pinpointed by members as reasons why it is something of an accident blackspot.

They included poor driver choices, speeding and a road design which can be confusing – especially at night.

Shetland Islands Council’s roads manager Dave Coupe confirmed that assessments are ongoing, and “if we do identify a firm pattern or cause of accidents then we will take this forward to council with a proposal for measures to reduce them.”

The junction, at the Gulberwick end of the Black Gaet stretch of road, has long been the subject of discussion over its safety.

It is a rare example in Shetland of a junction which features a short ‘give way’ slip road joining onto the main carriageway just metres from the turning.


Lerwick South councillor Cecil Smith, whose ward includes the junction, said he had been told by road engineers that a whole new lay-out of junction could be one possible option should the SIC decides to take action.

“I think there’s a general concern [in the community] about the number of accidents that happen there,” Smith said. “Fortunately there’s not been any serious injuries.

“I have been speaking to the roads engineers since the last [community council] meeting at Gulberwick. They said they had been doing a survey of the junction along with traffic management.

“I think they do hear concerns about it and they are probably having a view to looking at the lay-out of another junction, it might be a new junction altogether. But that’s likely to be somewhere down the line. If that comes to pass, there would have to be funding required for that.”

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Smith said the main problem he has heard from drivers is the slip road coming from the south end, which “seems cause confusion for a lot of folk”.

“It is quite a dark junction coming out onto a main road too,” the councillor added.

“I’m really glad road engineers are looking at it and taking a serious view of it.”

Roads manager Coupe, meanwhile, said: “We continue to monitor all areas of the road network where there are accidents to help identify patterns and causes.

“The Black Gaet junction is one area that has been continually looked at and this work is continuing.”

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