THE latest crash at a notorious Ross-shire road junction has prompted a local councillor to call for urgent action to make it safer before another serious injury occurs.
Three people were taken to hospital on Monday evening following a two-car crash at the Leanaig junction on the A835 road at Conon Bridge.
Councillor Alister Mackinnon, who came upon the accident, believes there has been a collision at that location nearly every week recently and it is high time a short-term solution is put in place to reduce the risk at the busy junction which he says has poor visibility.
The four councillors of Dingwall and Seaforth have now invited Marco Bardelli, Transport Scotland’s area manager north for trunk road maintenance, to attend their ward business meeting on November 20 to discuss long and short-term measures to improve safety.
Back in August 2008 locals campaigning for improvements met with police and other agencies at the crossroads.
That led to a road safety investigation and a year later the junction was resurfaced, re-lined and the central hatching was filled with colour.
In January 2011 a pedestrian was killed in a collision with a car at the junction. He was a local man and his neighbour had also been killed there in 1986, while cycling to get a morning paper.
The latest accident happened around 5.15pm on Monday and involved a Renault Captur and a Honda CRZ.
Three people – the driver of the Renault and the motorist and passenger in the Honda – suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment.
While there have been regular calls for the junction to be replaced by a crossing or roundabout, Councillor Mackinnon believes longer slip lanes should be formed as a short-term solution.
Councillor Mackinnon told the Ross-shire Journal there had been fatal and serious accidents at the junction in the past, and minor accidents were happening on a regular basis.
“I’m not prepared to sit back and wait for a serious road accident to happen,” he said. “I came across this accident on Monday night and later sent an email demanding that the council has another meeting with the police and Bear Scotland and I know I have the support of the community council on this.
“We have got to get through to the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland and Bear Scotland about the seriousness of the situation. I don’t want to wait for what happened at the North Kessock junction; for a serious injury to occur before something is done. There is an accident happening there nearly every week.
“This morning there were eight vehicles queuing up and people do take chances, we need to do something before it is too late.
“My short-term proposal would be for longer slip roads entering and exiting Conon Bridge. Hopefully discussions would then take place for an urgent permanent solution at the junction.”
Conon Bridge Community Council chairwoman Fiona MacKintosh estimated there had been three accidents there in the last four or five weeks.
“This has been an issue for a while now and over the years we have been getting in touch with Bear Scotland and haven’t really had much of a response, just to be told they need statistics.
“I certainly support what Councillor Mackinnon is saying, we just want to work together to get something done before there is another fatality.”
A spokeswoman for Bear Scotland said: “Trunk road safety is a top priority, and the safety of the trunk road network is reviewed annually to establish where further improvements are required.
“At present there are no plans to carry out any works at the junction, although we will continue to monitor the area.”
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “Officers will follow up Councillor Mackinnon’s request and ask to meet with Bear Scotland to discuss concerns.”
Police Scotland provided details about the accident but declined to comment further.