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Council / Councillor keen to see lines brightened at Black Gaet junction

The Black Gaet junction. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

BRIGHTENING the white lines at the Black Gaet junction would be a “step in the right direction” in addressing safety concerns, according to a Shetland South councillor.

Allison Duncan made the recommendation at a meeting of the Shetland community safety and resilience board, saying he felt something needed to be done.

Meanwhile data provided by the roads department via the police shows that the reported injury collision rate at the junction – which is regarded by many as an accident blackspot – has risen by 1.69 per cent a year since 2000.

When it comes all reported collisions, injury or not, the rate was increasing by 0.52 per cent a year from 2000 to 2017.

But the roads department said it has not received details of non-injury collisions from Police Scotland since 2018.

Traffic volume has also grown, and in 2014 the average daily flow through the junction was 6,824 vehicles.

Duncan said he has heard plenty of concern about the junction, which connects the B9073 and the A970 and leads to the south mainland and also Lerwick in the opposite direction.

This has included people in his ward, as well as elsewhere in Shetland and also even taxi drivers.

“The white lines there are pretty bad,” he said, adding that a fresh coat of paint could enhance safety.

The roads department’s Neil Hutcheson said that this is in the pipeline along with resurfacing.

“The sooner the better,” Duncan said in response.

In October roads manager Dave Coupe said work was ongoing to assess police statistics and data to see if there were any trends behind accidents.

A report on the junction went to councillors around seven years ago but there was no definitive trend when it came to the cause of accidents, meaning no road safety action was taken.

In recent months the speed limit around the junction has dropped from 60mph to 50mph as part of a wider trial to examine levels of active travel at the south end of Lerwick.

Roads manager Dave Coupe said there will be nothing to report until near the end of the 18-month trial period.

Meanwhile Hutcheson also told the board that an “older driver campaign” is under consideration by the local road safety advisory panel following the success of a scheme with youngsters.

A road worker campaign is also being proposed, with Hutcheson saying there have been a “few near misses” and that both the council and contractors have experienced the problem.