Dean Lockhart MSP has today written to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson MSP, urging the report into improvements to the A84 and A873 junction at Blair Drummond Safari Park to be published as soon as possible.
Representatives from across the political spectrum along with community representatives, safari park owners and other stakeholders met in December 2017 to discuss options to improve the safety of the junction.
Following the meeting, Transport Scotland agreed that a feasibility study would be commissioned to look into the issue.
In response to a written question from Mr Lockhart, Scottish Government Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP confirmed that the study was ongoing and will be completed by Summer 2018.
However, no such report has been issued to date and Mr Lockhart has asked for direct clarification from the Scottish Government on the timescale for its publication.
Mr Lockhart also revealed that a member of his staff was almost involved in a serious incident at the junction in recent weeks.
Dean Lockhart MSP said:
‘’It is of crucial importance to the local community that the report is completed as soon as possible so that they can be re-assured that appropriate action will be taken.
‘’The situation at Blair Drummond Safari Park remains incredibly dangerous, with a member of my staff coincidentally involved in a near miss at the junction over the summer.
‘’The longer these conversations take the more local people and road users will remain wary of the safety of this stretch of road and more incidents will occur.
‘’I urge the Scottish Government to do all it can to speed up the process and give the re-assurances to the local community that the situation will be improved.’’
The text of the letter sent to Michael Matheson MSP on 25th September 2018 can be found below:
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity
The Scottish Government
St. Andrew's House
25th September 2018
A84- Blairdrummond Safari Park
I write in reference to an ongoing road safety issue at the entrance to the Blairdrummond Safari Park on the A84 outside Stirling.
On numerous occasions the lack of specific lanes for visitors to the park can lead to other road users attempting incredibly dangerous overtaking manoeuvres to bypass the congestion. As a result, traffic attempting to pull out of the junction to exit the safari park are faced with fast moving traffic from both directions. This is also exacerbated by the bus stops which exist either side of the road past the junction. These road traffic factors all combine to result in, what I am sure you will agree, can be an extremely dangerous situation for road users.
These issues were addressed at a meeting between myself, Bruce Crawford MSP, local councillors, safari park owners, community representatives and Transport Scotland at the end of last year. It was then agreed by Transport Scotland to commission BEAR Scotland to undertake a feasibility study and outline design, including indicative costs, for potential improvements to the existing junction between the A84 and A873 to report by the end of this summer. This was confirmed to me in the following answer to a written question on 18th May 2018:
Question S5W-16787: Dean Lockhart, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 18/05/2018
To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made with the feasibility study on introducing a junction improvement on the A84 near Blair Drummond Safari Park.
Answered by Humza Yousaf (29/05/2018):
Transport Scotland has commissioned its operating company BEAR Scotland to undertake a feasibility study and outline design, including indicative costs, for potential improvements to the existing junction between the A84 and A873 junction. The study will examine options for amending the junction, taking into consideration engineering and topographical constraints and traffic counts have already been carried out to inform this work. This data is currently being collated and analysed to allow design solutions to be developed. Subject to the outcome of this initial phase, the report aims to report by the end of Summer 2018.
Current Status: Answered by Humza Yousaf on 29/05/2018
Given the assurance that the report would be completed by the end of the summer, I would be grateful if you could confirm the timescale for the report to be issued, in order that I can report back to the communities involved on any progress which has been made.
Dean Lockhart MSP