We`ll Take the High Road
The Association of British Drivers welcomes A9 improvements.
The Scottish Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson, has announced plans to upgrade the A9 between Perth to Inverness to dual carriageway at a cost of £600 million and, in the longer term, plans to dual it all the way to Thurso. There are ferry connections from Scrabster near Thurso to the Orkney Islands, and the Shetland Islands. The port is also the closest point of access to the European road network for the Faroe Islands and Iceland.
The A9 is also part of the main route to the Western Isles, with ferry services from Ullapool; yet only sections of the route are currently dualled. Some sections had ground cleared many years ago to allow widening, but the work was never completed.
Frequent large yellow signs on the A9 urge slow drivers to pull over and let queues clear, because queues cause frustration that can lead to accidents, yet many inconsiderate drivers ignore the instructions, causing queues to build up that can be several miles long.
One of our members informs us that on Saturday 19th May, a queue over two miles in length built up behind a group of classic motorcycle riders who were travelling at 40mph and ignoring the signs instructing them to let queues clear. This queue travelled over ten miles from Aviemore to Glen Truim before they pulled off. At one stage the motorcyclists passed a police patrol car parked beside the road, but the police seemed more interested in paperwork that doing something about the tailback.
Such queues are commonplace as a result, and police patrols (to be fair) have probably long got sick of telling people to read.
80 people have died on the road since 1999. In 2006, an average of almost one person per month died between Perth and Inverness.
ABD Regional Co-ordinator for Scotland, Peter Spinney said
"I am delighted to hear that this long overdue transport and safety improvement is to go ahead. For far too long the north of Scotland has been neglected by politicians in Westminster and Edinburgh alike, and forced to endure an inadequate and dangerous road link to the rest of the country. We now look forward to seeing some firm dates put forward - and the sooner the better."
"Until this improvement is completed I appeal to drivers to take notice of the signs on the A9 and pull over if they are causing a queue. There are plenty of lay-bys, and the scenery is breathtaking. In addition, drivers who have no intention of overtaking the vehicle in front should increase the gap in front of them to allow others to overtake the queue one vehicle at a time and thus prevent long queues building up."