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Community / Black Gaet junction a ‘concern’ but not an ‘accident blackspot’, police chief says

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

SPECIALISTS from the national police force are set to travel to Shetland to advise the local council on improving safety at the notorious Black Gaet junction, south of Lerwick.

Police area commander Stuart Clemenson said the junction was of concern from a road safety point of view, but he most emphatically denied that it was an ‘accident black spot’.

“Black Gaet junction is not an accident black spot; it’s an area that had some road accidents recently and the last two were dramatic in the sense that people had been taken to hospital and released a short time later,” the chief inspector said.

Three people were taken to hospital as a result of a two-vehicle crash on 13 April. Two weeks later, on 28 April, two women were transferred to the Gilbert Bain following a collision involving three vehicles.

Shetland area commander, chief inspector Stuart Clemenson. Photo: Shetland News

The speed limit in the area has been reduced from 60mph to 50mph as part of a pilot project, mainly to encourage more cycling and other modes of ‘active travelling’ and more generally to increase road safety.

The chief inspector confirmed that the Black Gaet area has the most accidents anywhere in the isles but added that considering the hundreds of miles of fast, winding roads, Shetland’s roads were very safe.

“The junction is of concern to us, and it requires further work. The council provides all the signage that we need for the junction, but sometimes it’s good to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes,” he said.

“We will cast another set of independent eyes on it to see what we can do to hopefully re-engineer the junction, to modify or align it – but it’s the council’s decision; it’s their road.

“All we can do is be part of the agencies that can input to help with our own knowledge and experience.

He said that in his view the current speed limit of 50mph was appropriate for the area.

“I think that is suitable for that road and junction. I don’t think it is necessarily about the speed, it’s about people’s perception and awareness on approach to the junction,” he said.