Published: 18/04/2017 17:00 - Updated: 18/04/2017 10:06

Crash highlights need to review A9 slip roads

Written byRachel Treasurer

Labour MSP David Stewart.
Labour MSP David Stewart.

A HIGHLANDS and Islands Labour MSP has vowed to speak to transport authorities about traffic "hot spots" in Inverness.

Road safety campaigner David Stewart is aware of issues of congestion on the slip roads on and off the A9 near Raigmore Interchange, particularly the exit that veers off the A9 and up the hill to the Inverness College UHI campus.

Mr Stewart is pleased that there has been a lot of development in the area but is aware that now that it has become a much busier spot in the city, it will have to be kept under review.

"Most of the things we hear about are to do with the Longman Roundabout but I do know in that particular area there are issues around congestion," he said. "I haven’t had any safety concerns as such. We do need to keep hot spots under review.

"Sometimes accidents are about road design and layout, sometimes it’s about inexperienced drivers or issues to do with impairment. I will speak to both Transport Scotland and the police about the issue."

Mr Stewart was speaking following an accident that took place on Thursday on the A9 slip road heading north toward the Raigmore Interchange.

Luckily there were no injuries in the three-vehicle shunt, which involved two cars and a van, however the incident highlighted the dangers of the slip roads heading to and from the Raigmore Interchange.

Mr Stewart has long campaigned for road safety in the area, most recently taking on the highly controversial Longman Roundabout.

The MSP championed a cause for action at the roundabout which for years has experienced constant queuing and delays in the area.

A trial aimed at improving traffic flow was made permanent at the end of last year.

The sequencing of traffic lights on the roundabout was altered last August and Transport Scotland said that it had been successful in reducing queues, despite mixed reviews when the trial began.

Traffic monitoring since the trial began showed that journey times on weekday evenings had reduced by 17 per cent while weekly morning rush hour commutes dropped by two per cent.

However, Mr Stewart has now also decided to take on the issue of young and inexperienced drivers having been alarmed at the amount involved in road traffic accidents.

The Labour MSP places no blame on young drivers but would like to see an overhaul in the system to ensure that, when they pass their tests, they are completely capable of navigating the roads on their own.

Mr Stewart believes that when learning to drive young people should have to go through a similar process to that of how pilots or HGV drivers are taught.

Although he thinks that it is crucial that young drivers are given the chance to get out on the road by themselves for work and leisure purposes he would like to ensure that they are completely ready to do so when they are given a driver’s license.

"I don’t blame young drivers, I blame the system," he said. "It’s about making sure young drivers get a bit more experience before they are out on the road. It’s not about giving them impediments it’s about making sure young drivers drive in a safe way."

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