More than 60 '˜near-misses' since start of A9 dual project

More than 60 safety incidents and 'near-misses' involving workmen and members of the public have taken place in the first two years of the A9 dualling project.

The majority of the incidents have involved minor mishaps which have befallen the workmen on the £3 billion A9 dualling project, Picture: John Devlin
The majority of the incidents have involved minor mishaps which have befallen the workmen on the £3 billion A9 dualling project, Picture: John Devlin

The incidents include one fatal road accident where a van collided with a lorry stopped at roadworks near Blair Atholl, according to documents released by Transport Scotland.

They show that there have been 65 accidents, safety incidents and near-misses between the start of the project in September 2015 and November last year.

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The majority of the incidents involve minor mishaps which have befallen workmen on the A9, but others involve more serious car accidents and potentially dangerous near misses.

The dualling of the A9 is set to cost £3 billion and is not expected to be completed until 2025. The Scottish Government has described it as the nation’s biggest ever transport project.

The dualling will ultimately make the A9 safer, but documents released under the Freedom of Information Act highlight that the upgrade has brought its own safety challenges.

On 15 September, 2016, a 43-year-old man died when his van collided with a lorry which had been stopped by traffic management due to a borehole position.

An investigation into the accident found that traffic management had been set up correctly, with signage and safety zones in accordance with current standards.

Transport Scotland said it had found “no road-related factors that required action” as a result of the accident, which was also investigated by police.

In February last year, a camper van heading north had to swerve to avoid a stationary traffic management vehicle, taking off its wing mirror.

The report of the incident added: “Camper van driver admitted he was admiring the scenery and not paying full attention to the road ahead.”

In one near-miss in October 2015, a sub-contractor drove his car into a roadside verge after an unsecured clipboard on his dashboard became jammed in the steering wheel.

“There were no injuries and no damage to the car. However, in different circumstances this could have caused a major accident,” the report into the incident said.

Tick bites have also proved a problem for A9 workers, with one consultant being diagnosed with Lyme Disease last November and put on a course of antibiotics by his doctor.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said it took the health and safety of road workers and the public on all of its road projects “very seriously”.

“Health and safety is a key consideration of the ambitious A9 dualling programme,” he added. “Our programme objectives include improving safety for motorised and non-motorised users by reducing accident severity and driver stress. The new sections of dual carriageway are designed to current standards with improved overtaking opportunities and safer access arrangements.

“During construction works the safety of road workers and travelling public is a top priority, including the provision of average speed cameras for the full extent of roadworks.”