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'Lives will be saved' by Black Isle junction revamp; Crask junction work on B9169 follows four-year campaign

By Hector MacKenzie

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A BLACK Isle community is celebrating the success of a hard-fought campaign that could save lives.

The reconfigured Crask junction on the B9169 two miles east of Culbokie was completed after locals warned negotiating it was "like a game of Russian roulette".

It has been the scene of a fatal accident and several near-misses down the years.

Campaigner Alison Lowe said locals are delighted it is "safe now for us to enter and exit without risk".

She said: "The process to make this junction at a blind summit safe, was initiated some years ago in 2014 by a letter from Gordon Morris, Kinchyle, a resident of the Crask Road, highlighting the dangers to among others, the Ferintosh Community Council.

Sightlines at the Crask junction have been dramatically improved by the work.
Sightlines at the Crask junction have been dramatically improved by the work.

"It has taken us a little over four years to actually get the junction made safe and repositioned, but now the users of this junction and the folk on the B9169 have no problem exiting and entering safely, rather than dicing with death on a daily basis exiting and entering at a blind summit.

"I feel that the work that has gone into this project from community, Ferintosh Community Council and the Highland Council should be highlighted to give hope to people in other communities. To show that results can be achieved when communities and community councils are persistent in their goal and work together with the Highland Council to achieve results.

"This particular result will have saved lives in the future, though sadly one young lad was killed at this junction.

"We are very keen to give encouragement and hope to other communities as to what can be achieved with persistence and close working between members of a community, community councils and Highland Council."

She paid tribute to Ferintosh Community Council for its resilient support and to Highland Council officials who had input to finding a solution.

Retired local councillor Isobel McCallum, who supported the effort, cut the ribbon at the weekend celebration.

Speaking in a personal capacity, Ian MacGillivray, former council principal engineer in Dingwall, said: "The junction improvement was an unusual project – one which needed the proactive involvement of a large number of individuals. It was very satisfying or three reasons – because people said it couldn’t be done, the users are pleased with the outcome and ultimately it will save lives.''

Ms Lowe said: "Once funding was sourced, planning etc granted, and contracts awarded the actual physical process went very smoothly. The main contractor UB Civils are to be commended for their consideration and professionalism throughout the construction. All in all, a very sucessful process with a very good and safe outcome for all of us."

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