THE Scottish Government is being challenged to accelerate its A9 dualling plans following “horrendous accidents and loss of life”.
Highlands and Islands MSP Mary Scanlon is pressing the case after publication of statistics showing there have been 1,000 accidents on the key road link over the past five years.
The route, a key link running through the Highlands, also has the highest fatality rate of all roads in Scotland.
The Conservative MSP wants to see the Scottish Governmentmove forward plans that would see the A9 dualled berween Inverness and Perth by 2017.
The latest available figures show that the A9 claimed 67 lives from 2006 to 2010.
In answers to questions asked, Transport Minister Keith Brown confirmed that that the A9 has had the highest or joint-highest fatality rate of all roads in Scotland in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
For injury road accidents, the A9 has some of the highest accident rates in Scotland with it always being in the top five for road accidents.
Between 2006 and 2010, there were 1,026 road accidents on the A9, with an average of over 200 road accidents per year.
Mary Scanlon said: “It has been confirmed that the A9 has the highest fatality rate of all roads in Scotland. It is a terrible statistic to reveal and this road continues to injure and claim too many lives every year.
“The figures relating to the A9 have been horrendous for a number of years and there is an increasing number of vehicles using the A9.
“The Scottish government should put its money where its mouth is and accelerate the dualling of the road and not wait until 2017. The recent horrendous accidents and loss of life must focus the minds of SNP Ministers to treat this road as the priority it should be.”
Referring to stats showing there’s an accident every other day on the route, which also passes through the heart of Ross-shire and north through Sutherland and Caithness, Ms Scanlon said it was time to “accelerate” dualling plans.
“These statistics, and the grief for the many families, friends and communities affected by each accident, reinforces the need for the A9 to be made up to dual carriageway as quickly as possible. It is not acceptable for one road to cause so many accidents and so much anguish.”
The Scottish Government says it has invested £50million on improvements between the Inverness and Perth since 2007.
It has promised to announce more details of the dualling programme shortly.