PLANS to make the main road to the Highlands a full dual carriage way should be brought forward, a leading police officer has said.
• The plea comes after a dealy collision on Tuesday night
• Accidents occur on A9 with a “depressing frequency”
Chief Superintendent David O’Connor called on transport chiefs to look into dualing the A9 between Perth and Inverness as a “higher priority”.
He made the plea days after a crash on the busy road killed three people, including a woman and her daughter, when two cars collided near Kingussie on Tuesday night. Three other people in the vehicles were seriously injured.
Mr O’Connor said there are “few roads in Scotland that have the same reputation as a dangerous road”, and also suggested increased police patrols and a zero tolerance approach to illegal driving on the A9, such as speeding.
He said he regularly drives on the road and that accidents occur on it with a “depressing frequency”.
Mr O’Connor said: “A major part of the problem is engineering, a lack of dual carriageway. The road needs to be dual carriageway for its entirety. While I welcome the Scottish Government position that work on making the A9 dual carriageway from Perth to Inverness will start early, in 2015 -2016, I have to ask: is this early enough?
“There have been other major capital investments made across Scotland for sound economic reasons. However, people are continuing to die and be seriously injured on the A9 with depressing frequency. Is this the case in some of the other projects? This needs to be looked at with fresh eyes and explored to see if it can be given a higher priority.
“Our elected representatives in the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament need to ask themselves if they need to reassess their priorities and bring forward improvement work as soon as possible and not in 2015 or 2016 as is currently planned.”
Better driver education is also part of the solution and police could make a “significant impact” on increasing safety on the road, he said.
“Perhaps the time has come to not only significantly increase the police enforcement activity specifically on the A9 but also adopt zero tolerance to unlawful driver conduct in order to save lives.
“There may be other legislative measures to improve safety that can also be explored.
“I also believe that increased highly visible police patrols of the A9 can help prevent road collisions and the death and serious injury that frequently arise.”
The Scottish Government’s infrastructure and investment plan includes the upgrading of the road to dual carriageway by 2025 as most of the A9 is just single carriageway. The £3 billion work would convert 80 miles of the route.