Transport Scotland moves on improvements to Raigmore Interchange in Inverness

Scotland’s national transport agency is to make several improvements to Raigmore Interchange following safety concerns raised with MSP David Stewart.

Mr Stewart, who represents the Highlands and Islands, wrote to Transport Scotland’s Chief Executive Roy Brannen following contact from constituents still worried about the pedestrian crossing on the A9 slipway.

He asked for the agency to look again at its safety following an incident earlier this year when a pedestrian was involved in a serious accident with a car and later died in hospital.

Police Scotland has now told the MSP that the installation of two additional warning signs for the crossing is “an insufficient short-term solution” and “more permanent short-term engineering measures should be considered to minimise the potential for future collisions”.

Warning signs have already been installed on the A96 carriageway, following the tragic accident in February, but people have told Mr Stewart they believe these are ineffective and pedestrians are still at risk there.

Mr Stewart said: “I’m pleased that the agency has now moved to do more at this location as it is still of concern to people who use the crossing and those who drive past it every day.

“What I’m not pleased about is that, as yet, we have been given no date when the new Scottish Government funded scheme to improve the routes for pedestrians and cyclists will be in place. I’ve been told 2020 but fear that this may have slipped as no specific date is forthcoming.

“Of course, I’ll press Highland Council and Transport Scotland on this point and I do hope the autumn improvements will help.”

Transport Scotland has said that the extra signs will be placed on the approach to the crossing between the A96 exit and entry slip roads and should be installed this autumn.

One option is narrowing the crossing point from two lanes to one by altering road markings on the roundabout and BEAR is investigating this.

It will also look at clearing further ground around the crossing to make it easy for drivers and pedestrians to see each other, maximising sightlines at the critical south east corner. This work will be carried out in the autumn.

BEAR is also being instructed to review the existing speed limit at the interchange and on approach roads with a view to introducing a lower speed of at most 40mph. This will need consultation with Highland Council and community councils and no date can therefore be given for it being brought in.

Transport Scotland said temporary traffic lights on the south bound slipway, an improvement suggested by Mr Stewart, was not feasible as it would lead to stationary traffic on the carriageway and would like result in accidents on the roundabout.

Mr Stewart first called for a safety review of the southbound A9 slip road, which links to the A96, after the incident involving the Inverness grandmother.

There are no pedestrian crossing lights at the spot, but there are some on the other slip road which is only a few yards away.

Transport Scotland previously told Mr Stewart it was working with Highland Council and Sustrans on an active travel network project, which includes improved pedestrian and cycle routes through the interchange where the A9, A96 and Millburn Road meet.