Stewart plugging away for answers about A82 road safety improvements

Road safety campaigner MSP David Stewart has expressed disappointment that the Scottish Government does not seem to know which sections of the A82 have benefited from roadworks over the past five years.

The revelation comes after Mr Stewart tabled a question following the death of a family-of-four who lost their lives in a crash on the notorious road last month.

The response received this week says an average of £11.8 million was spent on improvements each year – but the government is “unable to break down this investment by location”.

The question was lodged after the Cousins family lost their lives on the road on February 20.

Mother Gemma Cousin, 26, was driving a green Mini Cooper when it crashed with a red Ford Fiesta by Hillfarm, Torlundy, near Fort William.

Her husband Rhys, aged 25, was also killed along with their two daughters Peyton, three, and Heidi, one.

Mr Stewart said: “The A82 has a history of tragic road deaths and serious injuries and lack of investment is causing unimaginable suffering for families like the Cousins and the Davidsons. That’s why I tabled a question to Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Parliament, asking what improvements and investment has been given to the A82, and in which locations, since 2016.

“I was stunned to receive this completely inadequate response. It seems bizarre that the government doesn’t know where it carried out infrastructure improvements along the route. I am lodging a Freedom of Information request to try to get those details. I realise that the current priority for our government is tackling the coronavirus but it will be in everyone’s interests to get this information.

“There have been a number of accidents and incidents on the A82 and it is hard to know, unless there have been fatal accident inquiries or court cases, what the actual causes have been.  Many could be down to driver error or road conditions or weather conditions but it is well known locally that the road does need major improvement which, I argue, would in turn make it safer.”

The response to the Parliamentary Question is below.

SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT

WRITTEN ANSWER

Index Heading: Transport Scotland

David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Labour):

S5W-27702

Michael Matheson: Since 2016 this Government has invested over £58 million* on maintaining the A82 trunk road.

 

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20**
£9,312,907 £11,287,720 £12,803,038 £14,361,468 £11,025,050

 

* We are unable to break down this investment by location.

** As Financial Year 2019-20 is not complete the figure above contains a small amount of projected spend through to the end of the financial year.

Our detailed programmes of maintenance work for 2020-21 are currently under development and will be shared with stakeholders, including MSPs, once confirmed. Information about our transport projects on this route can be found at https://www.transport.gov.scot/projects/

Detailed development and assessment of the preferred option for the A82 Tarbet to Inverarnan improvement scheme is ongoing with a view to preparing draft Orders later this year. Delivery of the scheme will depend on completion of statutory procedures and thereafter a timetable for its progress can be set.