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15 nights of roadworks set to start on accident-prone A9 / B9161 Munlochy junction this weekend

By Hector MacKenzie

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The junction has witnessed a series of bad accidents resulting in loss of life and serious injury down the years.
The junction has witnessed a series of bad accidents resulting in loss of life and serious injury down the years.

ROADWORKS around an accident-prone A9 junction on the Black Isle are set to begin this weekend, marking a major milestone in a long-running safety campaign.

BEAR Scotland, Transport Scotland’s trunk road operating company, is set to begin safety improvement works which will permanently close the right turn from the B9161 onto the northbound A9 at Munlochy junction.

The scheme is scheduled to run from Sunday, July 2 at 7pm until 7am on Friday, July 21.

It follows a number of earlier safety measures – including enhanced lighting – following a string of serious accidents at a junction which has involved vehicles crossing two fast-moving lanes of traffic.

Works will take place on Mondays to Fridays from 7pm-7am each night, finishing by the morning of July 21 – a total of 15 nights weather permitting. For the safety of road users and workers, there will be a temporary speed limit of 50mph, reducing to 30mph in the vicinity of the work site.

A previous crash at the site– one of many down the years.
A previous crash at the site– one of many down the years.

There will also be temporary lane closures and narrow lanes in place as required.

The project involves replacing the temporary measures put in place in November 2022, supplementing the recent installation of safety measures including new central reserve crash barriers, street lighting and traffic sign improvements.

A permanent island and signage will be installed so that drivers will not be able to make a right turn manoeuvre from the B9161 road onto the A9 northbound carriageway to Tore.

The “prohibition of right-turn” was one of the favoured options identified through previous public consultations. The removal of this movement will improve road safety by reducing the number of turning manoeuvres at the junction.

Traffic exiting the B9161 is required to travel south on the A9 and use the grade separated junction at North Kessock to access the A9 northbound carriageway. Following completion of separate roadworks on the unclassified road from Artafallie to Tore in late 2023, a further alternative route will be available.

Ian Stewart, BEAR Scotland’s north west representative, said: “Road safety is a top priority for BEAR Scotland, Transport Scotland and The Highland Council, and we have worked closely together to develop this scheme. The introduction of these measures builds on the work BEAR has already carried out at the Munlochy junction making it safer for all users.

“The temporary traffic management arrangements are essential for the protection of our workforce as well as motorists, however we will be carrying out the works overnight when it is less busy to limit disruption. Our teams will do all they can to complete the project as quickly and as safely as possible and minimise delays and inconvenience to the local community.

“We encourage all road users to plan their journeys in advance by checking the Traffic Scotland website for up to date journey information.”

Councillor Ken Gowans, chairman of Highland Council’s economy and infrastructure committee, said: “By permanently removing the conflict point at the junction it will make this section of the A9 much safer for all road users, especially for tourists who are likely to be unfamiliar with the road layout, but also safer for slower moving vehicles such as tractors or HGVs. I’ll take this opportunity to thank Kate Forbes MSP for her help in making this happen, her efforts are hugely appreciated by everyone.”

Real time journey information is available from Traffic Scotland on www.traffic.gov.scot or Twitter at @trafficscotland.

BEAR Scotland manages and maintains the trunk roads in the NW of Scotland on behalf of Transport Scotland. www.transport.gov.scot

The works are weather dependant and in the event of unforeseen weather conditions the timescales for traffic management may have to be extended until works are completed. Emergency services will be able to pass through the works at all times.

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