A man was believed to have been killed in a one-vehicle crash on the A82 Inverness to Fort William road yesterday, while a death on the A9 – the second in a week at the same location – has sparked calls for the dualling project to be speeded up.
Emergency services were called to the scene of yesterday’s accident near Spean Bridge, between Glengloy and the Letterfinlay Lodge Hotel, at 11.32am.
They discovered a car had left the carriageway and crashed down an embankment just north of the famous Commando Memorial.
Firefighters used cutting equipment to free the trapped driver, the only occupant of the car, but he reportedly died. The road was still closed last night as investigators carried out inquiries, and diversions in both directions were put in place, forcing some drivers into detours of 154 miles.
Meanwhile, a 58-year-old woman died on Tuesday night following a head-on crash between her Smart car and a lorry on the A9 near Aviemore.
It is the third crash in less than two weeks involving lorries and cars on the Badenoch and Strathspey section of the road. Last week, Norbert Palfi, 37, a Hungarian national who lived in Kingussie, died when his car was in collision with an HGV near the Lynwilg junction at Aviemore. The day before there was another crash. The driver was injured and taken to hospital.
Strathspey Councillor Bill Lobban, while praising the Scottish Government for committing to the A9 dualling, has called on Transport Scotland to speed up the project.
He said: “The fact there are three accidents on the same single-carriageway stretch of road is worrying.
“I can’t explain it, as it is not considered the most dangerous part of the A9.
“But this trend must be stopped, and the best way is to get the A9 dualled as quickly as possible. The SNP are to be congratulated for committing to dualling the road, something previous governments failed to do, but I urge them to quicken the pace of the project.”
Labour MSP and road safety campaigner David Stewart said: “While the cause of the recent accidents is not clear, evidence is clear that dual carriageways are safer and there are less fatalities on dual carriageways than on single track roads.
“I support the dualling of the A9 and I have asked the transport minister if signage close to the newly dualled sections is adequate to let drivers know of the change of road layout.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We are pressing on with our ambitious target of fully dualling the A9 from Perth to Inverness, some 80 miles of upgraded road – and remain on target to finish the job by 2025.
“Design work on the remaining schemes of the dualling programme is well under way with over 90% of the dualling programme having now reached preferred route status.”
Regarding signage, she said: “Prior to opening to traffic, any new section of road must undergo a safety audit which includes a thorough review of signage.”