7 October 2009

Final element of Laurencekirk transport hub in place

The final element of the multi-million pound integrated transport hub at Laurencekirk has been completed.

The £450,000 car park at the new Laurencekirk Station is being officially opened on Wednesday (October 7) by Aberdeenshire Provost Councillor William Howatson and Councillor Kevin Stewart, chair of the regional transport partnership Nestrans.

The car park provides 70 spaces, including spaces reserved for drivers with a disability, and is linked by a fully accessible footbridge to the station.

It caters for the high passenger levels at the station that to date has seen demand exceed pre-opening forecasts by 80%. Over 22,000 journeys have been made to and from Laurencekirk since the station opened in May and current projections are that 65,000 passengers are set to use the station in its first year of operation.

Nestrans has funded the £450,000 car park, which was designed and supervised by Aberdeenshire Council with the works implemented by north east firm MTM Construction. It includes full CCTV coverage that links to the ScotRail Customer Service Centre.

With 10 services a day in each direction from the station, the opening of the car park broadens the choice for passengers as to how they get there - walking, park and ride, passenger drop-off (or ‘kiss and ride’), or using the local Demand Responsive Transport service are all already options for communities across the area.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

“The opening of the car park at Laurencekirk will undoubtedly deliver real benefits for passengers.

“Laurencekirk has been a tremendous success since it opening earlier this year as part of the Scottish Government’s extensive rail investment programme. We believe the new car park will make it even easier for people to make the switch to a more sustainable mode of transport.

“Recent enhancements to east coast services, together with the spaces provided with the opening of the car park, give more people the option of swapping the car for rail.”

The scheme plays a key part in Nestrans' regional transport strategy. Cllr Stewart said:

"It’s great to the see the final part of this key project in place. It’s the latest in a series of key moves to create better local rail services for the people of the north-east and we expect to see further projects come to fruition in the coming years.

"We actively promoted and funded this project because it broadens transport choices for people in the local area and makes for a more efficient transport network all round."

Provost Howatson said:

"This is a real boost for the local community by allowing excellent access to the new rail services for everyone across the Mearns. This project demonstrates the commitment that Aberdeenshire Council and Nestrans have to investing in transport infrastructure, improving access to jobs, education and leisure. The opening of this car park should help to promote further increases in passenger numbers and this in turn will reduce traffic on the road network.”

The Grade B listed Laurencekirk Station re-opened in May this year after being transformed through a £3.5 million investment, with Scottish Government funding provided by Transport Scotland and Nestrans, supported by Aberdeenshire Council and a Railway Heritage Trust grant.

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