The Scottish Transport Minister has described a notorious A92 junction as a “recipe for disaster” and has vowed to do what is necessary to make it safe for motorists.
Humza Yousaf’s comments regarding improving the Balfarg junction came yesterday as he witnessed for himself a number of key hazard areas along a notorious stretch of the trunk road north of Glenrothes.
He was there at the invite of North Glenrothes Community Council and local MSP Jenny Gilruth to see first hand the long standing concerns at what campaigners have called the ‘five hazard area’ along the busy road.
“It’s one thing reading the briefs but another actually coming down here and seeing it with your own eyes. it’s been very informative,” said Mr Yousaf.
The Transport Minister was shown the Balfarg junction, one of the priority areas that campaigners have long been calling to be made into a roundabout.
With motorists forced to cross four lanes of traffic if wanting to turn right, the junction is avoided all together by many who live locally.
“I’ve just witnessed two drivers who were unsure who had the right of way and any confusion or hesitation on a trunk road is a recipe for disaster,” said the Minister.
“To be able to see that a couple of times just within the first 10 minutes of being here is helpful for me to understand the problems here.”
And Mr Yousaf hinted that a number of possible safety options could be ready for consideration as early as this summer.
He said: “We’ve been spending months conducting conflict studies which is essentially video data which allows us to see near misses or potential conflicts in traffic that take place.
“So we’ve probably got one of the best banks of data and evidence for any part of the trunk road
“We are now going to start to detail a variety of options and work with the outcomes of those options, what the costs of those interventions will be.”
The Minister also confirmed the Scottish Government would commit funding to the project and added that discussions would continue with Fife Council as to it’s commitment made in December 2016 to provide £1m towards installing a roundabout at Balfarg.
Speaking afterwards, Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP said: “Today marks a pivotal point in the campaign with a commitment to move the options study forward.
“I was glad to hear that one of the options now being considered is a roundabout at the Balfarg junction.
“As a Markinch resident I know only too well the difficulties and the angers associated with that stretch of the road; so I welcome today’s news and I look forward to working with the campaigners when the results of the study when published in the Summer.”
Ron Page, chairman of North Glenrothes Community Council welcomed Mr Yousaf’s visit,adding that he remained cautiously optimistic. “He has made a few promises after various Transport Scotland studies. I would like to be optimistic but this campaign has been going on for 10 years. We will wait and see.”