Transport / Black Gaet slip road set to be removed in coming months

Traffic volumes at the junction have risen on average two percent every year

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

THE SLIP road at the Black Gaet junction for traffic coming from the south and heading west is to be removed in the coming months due to concerns over its length.

A meeting of Shetland’s community safety and resilience board on Tuesday heard that the issue came to light as analysis continues into the junction, which has been described by some as an accident “blackspot”.

Road asset and network management Neil Hutcheson said if a HGV was waiting in the slip road, two cars could not sit behind it without one sticking out into the busy A970.

He said after the meeting that traffic volumes have gone up roughly two per cent year on year for a while, and described this as a key factor behind the decision.

“For a number of years it has been increasing, so obviously the more traffic, the more likelihood you’re going to have of a longer queue,” Hutcheson said.


The change, which includes the removal of the second island, will result in a more usual ‘T’ junction.

Hutcheson said the work could get underway later this summer, possibly into September depending on how other works progress.

However, he said the main causes of accidents tend to involve vehicles turning right into the Black Gaet or traffic heading south out of the junction.

But Hutcheson said the slip road may create some confusion, so removing it could help matters.

Meanwhile a freedom of information request to the police highlights that there have been a steady number of collisions in the vicinity of the junction reported to officers over the last ten years.

The figures show that there were four collisions and one “road traffic matter” reported to the police in 2021, and two collisions and one road traffic matter between January and the end of April this year.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


However, there may be other collisions where personal details were exchanged between drivers and thus there was no legal requirement to report to the police.

Area commander chief inspector Stuart Clemenson said in May that the area was a concern, but he stopped short of calling it an accident “blackspot”.

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

He added that specialists from the police had been set to cast a “fresh pair of eyes” over the junction from a safety perspective.

There have also been some calls in the community for the road service to think about a roundabout, but Hutcheson said this was not actively under consideration.

Analysis of the junction is due to be presented to councillors in September.

“That will give a bit more detail I’d imagine about probably why [a roundabout] is not going to happen, but that’s not for now, that’s for later,” Hutcheson said.


The speed limit at the junction reduced to 50mph last year as part of wider trials to look at levels of active travel.

However it is hard to gauge if the temporary speed limit is having any effect on road safety.

The community safety and resilience board also heard that a meeting will be held this weekend with landowners regarding the proposed Levenwick road upgrade.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.