Dualling the A9

One of the worst moments in this job is when you get that call from the police to say that there has been a road accident in the constituency. Instantly, you know what it’s going to be – another accident and probable fatality on the A9. Immediately, thoughts go out to the family involved and hopes are that it is not as bad as initially conveyed.

All of us who live in Perthshire are familiar with this danger that exists on our doorstep. Nearly 70 people were killed on the road between 2006 and 2010 and the road’s notoriety as a killer road is well deserved. My first experience of the dangers of this road was back in 2001 when I was a candidate standing for the first time. Just months before my election, three generations of an Israeli family were killed in one of the most serious accidents on the road at the old Ballinluig junction. It was following that incident that I vowed that I would do everything that I could to ensure that this killer road became safe. Since then, we have secured the new grade-separated junction at Ballinluig and the new junction at Bankfoot, all good, but not enough to make this road completely safe. What, of course, is required is the full dualling between Perth and Inverness.

That is why I am so pleased that real progress is now being made. The SNP Scottish Government have now committed to a full dualling programme between Perth and Inverness for the first time. But it won’t be an easy task. Dualling the A9 is a complex and challenging programme, indeed it is possibly one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever undertaken in Scotland. Contractors have now been appointed to carry out preliminary engineering work and communities in Bankfoot and Dunkeld have already seen plans for the road round their communities. The scale of the project means that this won’t happen overnight. Communities need to be fully consulted and the challenging environment properly assessed.

When complete, a dualled A9 will bring many benefits to the communities of Perthshire and the Highlands. We will have a safe and free-flowing link to the Highlands bringing real economic benefits

What we need is for all of Perthshire’s politicians to work together to make this happen. The priority now must be the upgrading of the A9, not the unwanted Edinburgh trams. Yes, we want this done as soon as possible, but I think we should ensure that communities have their say and the work is properly assessed and planned.

2 thoughts on “Dualling the A9

  1. KBW

    Pete, as a professional driver who drove the A9 from Coatbridge to Nairn five days a week for a while I have to say the road is very poorly engineered. Whoever decided it was a good idea to mix dual with two way carriageways needs to be tied to the side of the A9, that and the junctions are the killers. Not forgetting the appalling standards of driving.

    As a truck driver I frequently had car drivers overtaking me and then braking hard in front of me to show their displeasure at the fact that I was on the road. The fact that trucks are limited to 40 on the two way stretches is a mystery to most other drivers. Some car drivers are the most selfish pig ignorant morons on the planet.

    I once drove school buses and frequently had car drivers threaten to “have my job” when I pointed out to them that parking their 4×4 in the very bus stop I was attempting to drop their little darlings at was putting their children and the rest of the kids on the bus in harms way. God knows what impression they gave their poor children with their ignorance. Thankfull I am now finished with professional driving and enjoying much better health as a result.

    However there are some things that can be done to the A9 that would not cost a fortune and I believe save lives.

    #1 Put SPECS cameras on the entire route from Perth to Inverness.

    #2 Standardise speed limits for all traffic to 50mph, on dual and two way. Modern trucks are now well capable of operating safetly in these limits, the 40 limit was introduced when trucks were badly designed and engineered in the 60s. Not only is 50 safer for all but it saves on fuel consumption and pollutiion. And it will stop the bunching on the slow sections.

    #3 Ban all ovetaking on two way sections.

    #4 Provide many more refuge areas for Caravanners, and campers and Truckers, to take a break, well away from the traffic. Try and encourage the setting up of Coffee shops in these areas. The one thing that is missing in the UK is good quality stopping areas for trucks and holiday traffic. Compared to France we are in the dark ages.

    These actions would not cost a fortune and would make the road much safer and smoother flowing. People would arrive more relaxed and alive.

    1. ❝ näbD ❞ (@naebD)

      “The fact that trucks are limited to 40 on the two way stretches is a mystery to most other drivers.”

      Almost all trucks travel faster than that, so this ‘fact’ is apparently a mystery to most truck drivers as well! The best bit about driving the A9 has to be when you get to sit behind one lorry as it slowly overtakes another lorry for the duration of most of a dual carriageway section. Love it 🙂

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