Call for better Hillend Junction signage “before someone dies”

A woman from Angus has told of her horrifying experience of the notorious Hillend junction and called on the council to improve signage there.

Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 11:48 am
Hillend Junction, looking south. Stock photo of Mose Hutcheson of Penicuik Community Council.

While driving home after visiting friends in Peebles, arts administrator Vikki Stewart (37) drove straight onto the A702 from Old Pentland Road without realising it was a busy junction, as she had not seen the faded road markings telling motorists what is ahead.

Recalling her terrifying experience on July 31, Vikki told the Advertiser: “I would’ve caused an accident if there were cars crossing this junction at the time. The road markings to tell me there is a junction coming up and to stop are not visible and worn away. It was sheer luck that I didn’t hit anyone.

“With traffic closely tailgating me, pushing me to stay at the 40mph speed limit I drove to the top of the hill that reaches the A702, but there were no warning road markings to tell me a junction was ahead.

Looking north at Hillend Junction. Stock photo of Miles Briggs MSP.

“The stop sign painted in the road, which I’ve looked at on Google maps, no longer exists! Suffice to say the red stop sign I have now seen on Google maps was easily missed by me going 40mph. It looked like the road just continued on, and I did.

“I nearly killed myself and my young child by joining the A702 and not realising it was a junction joining a new road. I could have hit cars in both directions.”

Vikki called on the council to prioritise to improve the road markings and signage.

She said: “Midlothian Council has done nothing to prepare motorists to join a new road. There is no reduced speed from 40mph down. The stop sign painted on the road has disappeared. The solid line across the top of the junction has disappeared.

“The stop sign has been placed at the junction giving no time to slow or indication of where the actual junction is.

“For someone driving the road for the first time, it looks like a continuation of the road from Old Pentland onto the A702. This must be a priority to fix, someone is going to be killed! Luckily it wasn’t us.

“I’ve contacted Midlothian Council about my worries and they’ve responded to say they will be in contact.”

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear of the driver’s experience at this junction.

“A review of the signage and lining has been undertaken. These were found to be compliant with current legislation, with the junction ‘stop’ signage and lining clearly visible on approach.

“However, an advance junction warning sign is partially obscured by foliage and some approach road marking lettering is eroded. These matters will be attended to as soon as resources permit.

“We would remind all drivers that whilst 40mph is the maximum permitted speed, this road is narrow, winding and on a steep incline so due care and attention should be exercised.”