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Transport secretary says 'there is nothing that I won’t consider' to make the A9 safer

By Scott Maclennan

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Transport secretary Mairi McAllan.
Transport secretary Mairi McAllan.

Transport secretary Mairi McAllan and Transport Scotland bosses were given an unvarnished Highland perspective on the Scottish Government’s failures at The Inverness Courier’s A9 Crisis Summit.

Members of the audience, panel members – most prominently campaigner Laura Hansler and MSP Fergus Ewing – and host Nicky Marr repeatedly brought the reality of the A9 home to those in power.

And the transport secretary must be credited with appearing to listen sincerely to what was said and and promising to seriously consider particularly the concerns, frustrations, anger and even ideas.

Transport Scotland’s interim chief executive Allison Irvine and Rob Glabraith did not get quite so easy a ride and some of their responses were given a hostile or mocking reception from the audience.

But Ms McAllan won plaudits not least from A9 dualling campaigner Laura Hansler who welcomed her statements on the dangers of the A9 and how it left the transport secretary feeling “her heart was in her hands” on the road.

As well as that Ms McAllan also promised to consider seriously the short-term safety improvements many locals who live along the road and use it daily feel are necessary to reduce the dangers.

“There is nothing that I won’t consider in order to try and do what we can to make this road as safe as possible whilst the dualling programme goes on,” she said.

“I want to make that very clear. It’s important to know that some of these points have been considered by officials who have been working on this for a long time, but for my part, I want to take all of this and do anything that I can to improve the situation.”

When asked whether roundabouts might be an option, Ms McAllan said: “Roundabouts is an interesting one and I ask the team about roundabouts quite a lot because, as I said in my opening remarks, I hate junctions.

“Roundabouts are not a short-term measure. Roundabouts are big infrastructure work, not entirely akin to but not far away from the dualling process itself.”

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