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Demand for action at danger junction near Inverness Airport after death of boy (5)

By Val Sweeney

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Ardersier residents are calling for action at the junction of the B9039 and the Dalcross Industrial Estate.
Ardersier residents are calling for action at the junction of the B9039 and the Dalcross Industrial Estate.

The tragic death of a young boy following a three-car crash near Inverness Airport has reignited fears among local residents who have repeatedly called for action on a "fast and dangerous" road.

Sad and shocked residents in Ardersier are mourning the death of the five-year-old who died from injuries suffered in Monday morning’s crash on the B9039 at the junction with the Dalcross Industrial Estate.

The name of the boy – who died on Wednesday after being transferred to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow – is known to the Inverness Courier but we are respecting the family's wish for privacy.

Five-year-old boy dies after crash near Inverness airport

Although police were still carrying out inquiries today into the circumstances of the crash, locals say the junction is an accident blackspot and something should have been done a long time ago.

Culloden and Ardersier councillor Morven Reid expressed her condolences and has agreed to meet concerned business owners.

"This will be a devastating loss for their family and will impact the whole community," she said. "I wish to extend my sincere sympathy to them all."

Residents' main concerns focus on a blind summit on the B9039 close to the junction while the speed limit is 60 mph.

What residents say:

Alison Duncan (58), of High Street, a dispenser at the nearby NHS pharmacy:

Alison Duncan (58).
Alison Duncan (58).

"I’ve lived here for over 20 years and there have been numerous accidents at the junction over that time.

“It is well-known locally as an accident spot.

“When you drive from Ardersier towards the airport, just before you get to the junction there is a layby off to the left.

"When people indicate you never know if they are pulling into the layby or turning at the junction.

“There’s also that wee blip at the top of the hill.

“For me, traffic lights might be a solution because there is a car hire outlet at the airport and you can have people from abroad driving away from the airport unaware of the risks.

“Locals know to be very wary, but there are still a lot of accidents. It is a terrible junction.

“Something should have been done a long time ago and it is just awful that it takes something like this to bring it to people’s attention.

“People here are shocked to learn what has happened to the poor little boy and my heart goes out to his family.”

Di Hamilton (61), a cook of Tornagrain:

Di Hamilton (61) of Tornagrain.
Di Hamilton (61) of Tornagrain.

"My heart goes out to the family. People locally are just devastated.

"I stay just outside the village, but always visit for the shop, chemists and doctor’s. I’ve lived here many years and frequently use the junction.

"Lorries and buses pull out in front of you there, frequently. I’m instinctively very wary when approaching that junction.

"I’ve heard of plenty of accidents and near-misses over the years, and there was one involving me and my husband, with a lorry. The driver, for whatever reason, didn’t see us coming over the brow where that dip is, but we were lucky.

"Only on Sunday past, a bus pulled out in front of my son, his wife and their children. He had to slam on his brakes. They got a terrible scare.

"They have four boys, including twins of a year old.

"After what happened, it really hits home. I shudder to think - it could, so easily, have been my own loved ones.

"Something must be done."

Claire MacDonald (37) who works for her parents at the Star Inn in Ardersier:

Coming out of the junction on to the B9039.
Coming out of the junction on to the B9039.

"Heading towards the junction, when you drive over the white lines which are supposed to slow you down, you can’t see the junction.

"Even coming out of the junction, you have to come forward a little more than you should to see what traffic is coming.

"It needs flattened out or some kind of engineering work.

"Locals will be on high alert. Only a couple of weeks ago, one of the lassies who works here had to swerve to avoid hitting someone who had just pulled out in front of them. They just hadn’t seen her.

"You can be as careful as you like, but anyone coming at speed is upon you.

"It has that dip and a wee brow, not huge but still very difficult.

“Coming from Inverness is fine because it is straight but it tempts people to speed up. As soon as they come around the corner, they just floor it.

"One of our friends has lived here 60 years and she talks about numerous accidents. Every fortnight or so there is a bash or someone has to swerve to avoid someone.

"We’ve never had any efforts to sort this problem over the years and I have very little faith that something will be done."

Craig Evans (30), a caterer of High Street:

A solution must be found for the junction, says Craig Evans.
A solution must be found for the junction, says Craig Evans.

"I’ve only lived in the village for a year or so, but I’ve seen a lot of talk on social media about boy racers speeding along that route.

"As a driver, I’m aware it is a dangerous stretch past the junction as I go back and fore to work.

"I’ve always been wary of it, but never experienced anything myself.

"Now that someone has lost their life, they surely have to act and look for a solution at that junction."

INV_Dalcross junction B9039 photos from RTC scene taken on 9th March.
INV_Dalcross junction B9039 photos from RTC scene taken on 9th March.

Another nearby resident, who did not wish to be named, complained to councillors a few years ago about the junction being dangerous following repeated crashes.

"You have airport traffic coming that way," he said. "You have heavy goods vehicles and tractors. You have local traffic. You have tourists who are arriving at the airport.

"It is the whole mix."

He felt a 40mph speed limit and speed cameras should be introduced. He also queried whether further measures could be taken to encourage all airport traffic to use the access road to the A96.

Another resident said concerns had been raised in the past by Ardersier and Petty Community Council over what he described as a complex junction close to the brow of a hill and on a fast stretch of road.

"Most locals are aware of the junction and take care," he said.

"I don't think there are many people in the village who have not had the experience of drivers pulling out from the airport road."

Culloden and Ardersier councillor Trish Robertson and Highlands and Islands Green MSP Ariane Burgess expressed sympathy for the family.

Cllr Robertson said: "The tragic loss of a young child has saddened the whole community."

She added: "The junction has recently had new signage and rumble strips added as the junction has been considered dangerous. This is a fast road."

Monday's crash happened about 9am and involved a grey Vauxhall Insignia, a grey Peugeot 208 and a black Vauxhall Astra.

A six-year-old girl and a 39-year-old woman were also taken to Raigmore Hospital with injuries but both were discharged.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Police Scotland via 101, quoting incident number 0658 of Monday, 6 March, 2023.

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