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Comments from MSPs on the Safety of the A96

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The Garioch & North Marr Community Safety Group wrote to local Members of the Scottish Parliament to seek their views on the safety record of the A96 road from Aberdeen to Inverness and their views on what actions need be taken to improve that safety record. Extracts from their responses are shown below.

Comments from local Members of the Scottish Parliament

David Davidson MSP wrote:

"I have been calling for the upgrading of the A96 since I have been in Parliament which is now seven years. I have certainly won arguments on the A90 and once we get a decision on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route we will be in a better position to then argue for the A96 Aberdeen-Inverness upgrade. Obviously, with the AWPR in place, it is important that the roundabout which will be placed at the A96 intended to feed the A96 and Aberdeen Airport is of a sufficient standard to match the A96 road which, of course, at that point is dualled. I have driven the A96 to Inverness on a number of occasions recently, and I find the minor tinkering they have done of almost no relevance."

Fergus Ewing MSP wrote:

"The Highlands have been poorly served over the past 7 years by the Labour/Liberal Scottish Government. There has, during that period, been no major improvements to either the rail or road links to the Highlands. Therefore, there have been no major improvements to the main three trunk roads: the A9, A96 and A82. Nor has there been any major improvement to the rail links. Indeed, Inverness is the only city in Scotland which lacks dual carriageway road links and double track rail connections.

"Whilst this has indeed been a scandalous neglect by the Labour Liberal Government, it is time that they start to recognise the strength of feeling in the Highlands that our transport links are third rate. It is the duty of Government to provide a transport system. There should be a national consensus that we need to plan, over a long term period, the major improvement of these links, in a phased manner, so that we can see safer roads, less congestion, shorter journey times and massive improvements to peoples lives and the economy.

"In particular, we should establish, across the parties that both the A9 and the A96 should be upgraded to dual carriageway status. This will take time, but should be part of a national strategic transport projects plan."

Richard Lochead MSP wrote:

"To both promote road safety and provide economic progress for the North East, it is vital that the A96 is upgraded to dual status as a matter of priority. The A96 is not fit for purpose in the 21st century and our local communities are quite rightly demanding a modern transport infrastructure to improve the quality of life in this corner of Scotland".

Nanette Milne, OBE MSP wrote:

"I will continue to pressure the Scottish Executive on this issue and fight for the upgrading of the road to be made a top priority. At an economic level there is a strong case for widening the A96. We need a first-class transport infrastructure in Aberdeenshire, where goods and heavy vehicles can move about as freely and easily as possible. This alone would provide a shot in the arm for local businesses.

"Most importantly however is the need to save lives. The Scottish Executive must act to improve Northeast roads in order to make them safer for drivers and prevent this tragic and unnecessary loss of life."

Maureen Watt MSP wrote:

"The upgrade of the A96 is not only essential, it is long overdue. To have a road linking Inverness, the Highland Capital, with Aberdeen, Europe's Oil Capital, which is not dual carriageway the entire distance is a scandal. One only needs to look at the number of fatal accidents on the road to see that it is in drastic need of upgrading.

"Aside from the safety aspects we can see the benefits which Inverurie has reaped from the construction of its bypass, it is essential that communities like Keith are also able to benefit from such a development.

"Unfortunately it is the case that a bypass for Keith has been mooted since the late 1960s and there is still no forward momentum on it. Given the heel-dragging of the current Scottish Government over the Fochabers and Elgin bypasses, it is unlikely they will bring forward much needed proposals."

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