A consultation launches today to hear from drivers, communities and businesses on the impact of A9 dualling delays – and to ask whether they back a national memorial to those who have lost their lives on the road.
The route between Perth and Inverness will no longer be dualled by 2025 as planned, with anger growing over the delays.
We revealed on Tuesday that an overwhelming majority of MPs and MSPs representing communities who rely on the A9 signed our pledge to dual it as promised.
The Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee will launch the new consultation at Kincraig Community Hall, near Aviemore, later today.
It follows a petition by road safety campaigner Laura Hansler, who is from Kincraig, which calls on the Scottish Government to deliver on its 2011 commitment.
The committee want to hear views about the best approach to carrying out the dualling work and around interim road safety measures.
It also wants to gather opinions about the petitioner’s call for a national memorial to be erected to honour those who have lost their lives on the road.
The petitioner sees this as a national memorial garden where the more than 300 people who have lost their lives on the A9 could be remembered.
However, others have questioned whether it’s appropriate to have a memorial to those particular accident victims, when those who have lost their lives on other roads are not similarly commemorated.
There are also questions about where such a memorial would be located, and how it would be paid for.
A9 consultation launch
Committee convener Jackson Carlaw, Ms Hansler, members of the A9 Dual Action Group and local community and business representatives will meet prior to the official launch of the consultation.
“It’s extremely encouraging that the convener has chosen to launch the committee’s call for views in Kincraig, to meet with local people and businesses, at the heart of the communities that are affected daily by the A9”, Ms Hansler said.
“Direct community engagement is essential for us moving forward and this consultation will give everyone with an interest in the A9 the opportunity to share their views and play their role in holding the Scottish Government to account on their commitment to dual the road between Perth and Inverness.”
‘Continued loss of life’
Mr Carlaw, who is a Tory MSP, said the project is a “matter of significant public interest and safety concern” to people in the Highlands and across Scotland.
A total of 13 people lost their lives on the road between Perth and Inverness last year.
He added: “The continued loss of life on the A9 is a tragically regular reminder of the need to improve the safety of the route and the consultation offers a vital opportunity for everyone to contribute their thoughts on how best to do this.
“Your input matters, and we want to hear from road users, communities along the route and businesses alike.
“This is an opportunity to make your voices heard and to consider how to create a safer and more efficient A9 that protects all those who travel along it.”
How can I take part?
The public consultation is being held on the Scottish Parliament’s Your Priorities engagement site, which can be accessed here.
It will run until September 15. Following the consultation, the committee will invite Transport Secretary Mairi McAllan to provide evidence and respond to the findings.
It was revealed earlier this year that the upgrade will no longer be completed by 2025.
But the Scottish Government says it “remains firmly committed” to completing the project.
Meanwhile, a revised timeline for the work is expected to be delivered in the Scottish Parliament in autumn.