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Trees to be felled at blackspot A9 junction south of Inverness

By Tom Ramage

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Councillor Russell Jones and local parent Norman Campbell last year, showing just how high the trees had become.
Councillor Russell Jones and local parent Norman Campbell last year, showing just how high the trees had become.

Action is finally to be taken over trees which have been hampering a clear view of the A9 at a junction south of Inverness.

A9 campaigners maintain that contractors long ignored safety calls to trim back overgrown trees at the Ralia junction near Newtonmore to improve sight lines for motorists joining the fast section of road.

Transport Scotland insisted last year that Bear Scotland had carried out an inspection and "found the visibility to the south to be in line with relevant standards for a 60mph speed limit".

At nearby Invernahavon local resident Norman Campbell said last year: "We're running the gauntlet here now. It's way, way beyond a joke, feeling we're taking our lives in our hands every time we go shopping or deliver our children to school.

"These trees are not being maintained and are now 30 feet tall and growing.

"It's the responsibility of the roads authorities to stop the encroachment but they won't do it. The trees just go on obscuring the visibility at a notorious junction."

Local Highland councillor Russell Jones agreed: "How many more accidents must we have here before they take action? I have had local people phoning me with real anger aimed at Bear Scotland for not cutting these trees back."

Now tree felling on the A9 between the Ralia slip road and the B9150 Newtonmore junction is set to start.

Works will begin on Monday and continue for two weeks.

The project will involve the overnight road closure of the Ralia Café slip road during week one and overnight temporary traffic lights with a lane closure on the A9 during week two.

BEAR Scotland, on behalf of Transport Scotland, will be carrying out tree removal and pruning works.

"To ensure access to the café and for the safety of the public and the workforce, these works have been scheduled overnight and will require the closure of the Ralia Café slip road from Monday to Friday February 9, between 7.30pm and 5.30am," said BEAR's north west representative Ian Stewart.

"On Monday, February 12 the works will move on to the A9 until the night of Friday, February 16/morning of Saturday, February 17, with temporary traffic lights and a lane closure in place. No works will take place during daytime or on Saturdays or Sundays.

Access for local residents and emergency services will be permitted at all times. Arrangements will be in place to guide pedestrians and cyclists through the works.

Mr Stewart added: “I would like to thank the local community in advance for their patience while this vital work is undertaken. Improving visibility at this part of the A9 will enhance safety for all road users.

“We have scheduled the works to take place overnight, to minimise inconvenience.”

Real time journey information is available from Traffic Scotland on www.traffic.gov.scot or X @trafficscotland.

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