Councillors push for action at ‘notorious’ road junction near St Andrews

Councillors say they are disappointed by Fife Council's claims that little can currently be done to improve the safety of a notorious junction near St Andrews.

Cllr Ann Verner, Cllr Brian Thomson and Lynn Walker (Chair of Strathkinness Community Council) at the Strathkinness junction
Cllr Ann Verner, Cllr Brian Thomson and Lynn Walker (Chair of Strathkinness Community Council) at the Strathkinness junction

Last year, Labour St Andrews councillor Brian Thomson asked local authority transport chiefs to look into ways to make the B939 Strathkinness Crossroads safer following a number of recent accidents.

Despite the presence of rumble strips, flashing signs and noisier road surfaces to keep drivers alert, the junction remains a blackspot.

Roads boss Derek Crowe says there is no cash to look at drastic measures such as replacing the crossroads with a roundabout or a "staggered" junction that misaligns the road to discourage reckless crossings.

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He has also rejected the councillor's calls to cut the speed limit at the 60mph junction to 40mph, suggesting this would be "confusing" to motorists.

"We've looked at this location time and time again and the statistics have never been bad," Mr Crowe told the North East Fife area committee.

"It's operating safely. We cannot simply override policy on speed control on a main road - it will cause confusion.

"60mph is the limit but people need to drive at the appropriate speed.

"We will continue to monitor this junction going forward, but at this point in time there isn't a case for anything more [than what we have there now]."

Estimates prepared by Fife Council transportation boss Ken Gourlay suggest that replacing the Strathkinness Crossroads with a roundabout could cost upwards of £1 million, while a staggered crossroad would be around £385,000.

Reducing the speed limit, Mr Gourlay suggests in his paper, would have "negative complications".

But Cllr Thomson remains of the view that the junction merits action, despite official statistics suggesting that there have only been two accidents resulting in injury in the last five years.

Work at Boarhills, where an extension to the village's 30mph speed limit was introduced a few years ago, showed that there were times the council put overall safety before policy, he said.

"I'm aware of a lot of bashes and accidents happening [at Strathkinness] - the community is too," he said.

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"The statistics don't paint the full picture. Having used the junction many, many times both in my car and on the bike there's so many cars going through at a ridiculous speed.

"I'm still of the view it is an unsafe junction."

A number of councillors share Cllr Thomson's opinion that Strathkinness is not a problem that will go away.

Cupar Conservative Tony Miklinski said the junction carried "the feeling of uncertainty and risk because of the 60mph speed limit", while St Andrews Lib Dem Jane Ann Liston was "extremely disappointed" with the report's findings.

Cllr Liston added: "The people of Strathkinness are amazed there are so few accidents recorded.

"For them to be told there's not a problem when they regularly see damaged bits of car in the area - that doesn't make sense to them.”

She has also suggested that the speed limit be reduced.

"Driver behaviour is the main cause of fatal and serious accidents, and we should really be trying to calm the drivers down," she added.

"The folk of Strathkinness are going to be extremely disappointed if we go back to them and say: 'Fife Council doesn't think there's a problem.’”

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