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A9 road north of Inverness ‘must not be forgotten’, says MSP

By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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A previous accident on the A9, south of Cromarty Bridge.
A previous accident on the A9, south of Cromarty Bridge.

Highlands and Islands MSP, Rhoda Grant stated that the A9 road “north from Inverness must not be forgotten”, as she calls for more safety work carried out on the northern trunk road.

The call comes after Mrs Grant tabled questions in the Scottish Parliament asking when routine maintenance of white lineage and bollards was last carried out at each junction on the A9 between Inverness and Thurso and when the next routine maintenance is scheduled to be carried out at each of the junctions.

Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant in Holyrood.
Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant in Holyrood.

Rhoda Grant said “Sadly the A9 is renowned throughout the country for the number of fatalities and serious accidents that take place on the road each year. While much of the focus is on the A9 south, the road north from Inverness must not be forgotten by the Scottish Government.”

The MSP has campaigned to have improvements introduced at the Munlochy junction, the Tore roundabout and the Aldi and Lidl junctions at Tain. She continued: “While the answers I received look quite constructive at first glance, in reality, they detail only three projects earmarked to be carried out on the A9 north in the next two years.

“Every death on this road is a tragedy which wrecks the lives of the families and communities whose loved ones are involved.

“While the road fundamentally requires millions of pounds of investment, it is within the gift of the Scottish Government to ensure the funding is provided to carry out routine maintenance at the junctions along the A9.

Mrs Grant concluded: “I know from my inbox the strength of feeling there is about the level of investment needed on both local authority and trunk roads in the Highlands and I will continue to press the Scottish Government to provide adequate ringfenced funding to Highland Council and to Transport Scotland to allow them to adequately upkeep the road network in the north and introduce safety measures where needed.”

Transport Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP.
Transport Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP.

Fiona Hyslop, the cabinet secretary for transport, replied to Mrs Grant’s concerns, stating: “Rather than a set routine maintenance schedule, the programmes of routine maintenance on all trunk roads are developed based on need within the limits of available funding. The information that drives the programmes comes from a variety of sources, such as the regular safety inspections, the annual condition inspections and reports from the public.

“Other work streams such as Strategic Road Safety can also develop schemes that contribute to the improvement of north west trunk roads if the investigation of accident statistics highlights problems at specific locations, including junctions. A number of schemes on the A9 junctions have been completed recently through this budget as part of a package of short term works to improve safety prior to the dualling of the remainder of the A9.

“Cyclic maintenance is also carried out across trunk roads including grass cutting at junctions to keep visibility splays clear and bollard cleaning to maintain their reflectivity.”

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