Improvements to ‘death trap’ road could be scaled back to save time and money

Long-awaited improvements to a “death trap” road could be scaled back to proceed more quickly and at less cost.

A report on the A970 at Levenwick noted that developments in roadside safety barrier designs had opened up the possibility to “value engineer” the project.

Rather than spending almost £5m on widening a large section of the road, the council will now consider whether to focus just on the blind summit, which has been the main safety concern.

Alongside that, the new smaller safety barriers could be installed – an option that had been previously discounted due to the available space.

Discussing the revised option at today’s (Monday) environment and transport committee, Shetland South member Alex Armitage welcomed the “simplification” of the project.

He said the original decision for more extensive widening had been taken when the council was in a “different place” financially and in terms of its roads policies.

Dr Armitage said he welcomed the opportunity to revisit that decision and come up with “something a bit more sensible” that will improve safety but also allow the council to focus on more important projects, such as the new Cullivoe road in Yell.

He said the council could also save “millions of pounds” by removing the larger project from its asset investment plan.

Roads manager Neil Hutcheson said the smaller barriers provided an opportunity to progress sooner – but also stressed that the full widening option could still be progressed at a later date.

Shetland South councillor Allison Duncan has been pushing for the improvements for several years, labelling the stretch of road a “death trap” in 2021.

He is not a member of the environment and transport committee and was not in attendance today.

A 50mph speed limit will also be introduced on that stretch of road.


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