Renewed call for faster upgrades to A82

Image source, Google
Image caption,
The A82 provides a major link between the Highlands and central Scotland

A group campaigning for improvements to the A82 has made a new call for priority upgrades to the trunk road.

Figures obtained by the BBC from Transport Scotland suggest there have been more accidents on the A82 than the A9 over the past six years.

However, over that period there were more fatal accidents on the A9.

Stewart MacLean, of the A82 Partnership, said the figures for the A82 underlined the need for swifter upgrades.

He said while work was progressing on a project to upgrade the A9 between Inverness and Perth, much of the upgrades to the A82 were still at the planning stage.

Mr MacLean said: "About £3bn is going into the A9 and to a certain extent we feel as if we are getting the crumbs off the rich man's table.

"The big recent A82 project on Loch Lomond-side was £1m. We really do need a bigger project to improve the facility."

The A82 Partnership has outlined three priorities it hopes Transport Scotland can progress more quickly. These are:

  • Improvements between A82 Tarbet to Inverarnan, which is at the design stage
  • A bypass for Fort William
  • An upgrade of the road between Onich and Fort William.

The figures released to BBC Scotland following a Freedom of Information request show a total of 530 accidents occurred on the A82 between Inverness and Glasgow between 2012 and mid-2017 - 24 more than on the A9 between Inverness and Stirling.

The A82 also had more serious and slight accidents than the A9.

However, there was a total of 27 fatal accidents on the A82 and 30 on the A9.

'Significant progress'

Traffic flows in recent years have also been increasing more rapidly on the A82, though the A9 still remains the busier road.

Transport Scotland said the latest figures showed a 36% reduction in fatal and serious casualties since average speed cameras were introduced on the A9.

It also confirmed that more than £100m had been invested in the A82 and there had been fewer casualties in the last five full years for which data is available, down from 665 (2007-11) to 523 (2012-2016).

A spokesman said: "We recognise that continued investments can support further safety improvements on this important route.

"Across Scotland, significant progress in road safety has been made, with the latest figures showing deaths are down 35% compared to the 2004-2008 baseline.

"A single death on our roads is one too many, and we are committed to further improving road safety."

Transport Scotland also said it was committed to delivering an upgrade on the A82 between Tarbet and Inverarnan.

The spokesman added: "When complete, the upgraded road will bring significant improvements for road users and local communities who rely on this route which connects the Highland and Islands with the central belt."