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Council responds to sobering stats released on A9 casualties

By David G Scott

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Highland Council responded to newly released statistics on A9 road casualties by calling for an upgrade of Highland roads.

The figures were released under FOI by Police Scotland today and highlight the number of casualties as a result of collisions on main routes into the Highlands.

The council leader, Margaret Davidson said: “These stark figures highlight just how important it is for us to continue to press for the dualling of the A9 and A96 lifeline routes into the Highlands to continue with pace.”

Part of the A9 near Latheron that is considered an accident blackspot. Picture: DGS
Part of the A9 near Latheron that is considered an accident blackspot. Picture: DGS

Highland Council and its partners recently stressed the importance of progressing the plans for dualling of the A9 by 2025 and A96 by 2030.

The leader recently met with the Minister for Transport, MSP Graeme Dey, and said: “I am pleased to hear that the Scottish Government has committed to progressing their plans for dualling the A9 and the A96 and the safety issues and concerns regarding the current infrastructure seem to be well understood.”

Convener of the council Bill Lobban added: “The statistics are shocking and are a reminder to us all of the importance of public safety. It is critical that the A9 and A96 are made safer. The Highlands’ economic recovery, prosperity and future is heavily dependent on connectivity. From a public safety angle and an economic one we can’t afford any further delays to the dualling of the A9 or the A96.”

Chair of Highland Council’s economy and infrastructure committee, Cllr Trish Robertson also highlighted the need for better public safety. She said: “The dualling of both roads is crucial in terms of public safety. Many of the serious road traffic collisions take place on single carriageway sections which are open to various road safety issues including risks of dangerous overtaking or confusion.”

Mrs Davidson added: “Throughout the Highlands, communities are very much reliant on the road infrastructure for connectivity, goods transport and lifeline services. We simply don’t have the rail and bus networks available to urban populations in the central belt and our distances are far too great for people to manage on foot and bicycle alone for these basic needs.”

Chair of the council’s community and place committee, and chair of HiTrans, Cllr Allan Henderson added: “Historically, Highland has been provided with little in terms of roads investment, and we’re always told it’s due to finance constraints.

“We must now ensure these roads are delivered here in Highland. I am all for greening and climate change mitigation, but we can only do that with a level playing field, which includes the continuing dualling of the A9 and A96.”

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