Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Friday, 1 August 2008 16:22 UK

Upgrading road 'cut' fatalities

Police monitor A9 at Gleneagles
The A9 is a dual carriageway south of Perth

Research claiming the upgrading of a road cut the number of fatal accidents to zero within a year will be used to back calls for improvements to the A9.

Surgeons Evan Crane and Gavin Tait looked at the effect of replacing 9.4 miles of A77 south of Glasgow with motorway on road casualty statistics.

Nationalist MSP Fergus Ewing will use the clinicians' findings to reinforce calls for dualling the Highlands road.

He said the SNP back making the A9 dual carriageway from Perth to Inverness.

The M77 extension between Malletsheugh, near Newton Mearns, to Fenwick in East Ayrshire was opened in 2005.

The surgeons were at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock when they did their research.

Community Safety Minister Mr Ewing said he would raise the surgeons' findings with Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson.

ROADS FACT FILE
The new 132m M77 extension and Glasgow Southern Orbital (GSO) project opened in 2005 were constructed with the aim of easing traffic problems around Glasgow
Perth to Inverness is about 113 miles
Campaigners have also been calling for the upgrade of another Highlands road, the A82

He said: "Plainly what we really require is dual carriageway for Perth to Inverness. That's the objective of the SNP."

Mr Stevenson is expected to officially unveil proposals on upgrading sections of the A9 in an announcement next month.

Mr Ewing added: "I hope when we see the announcement next month this strong evidence from two well respected clinicians showing that the upgrading of a road can be justified on primarily safety reasons, as well as economic ones, will be fully taken into account."

Earlier this week, the transport minister said the Scottish Government backs a plan to make the Perth to Inverness section of the A9 a dual carriageway.

He said it was a long-term objective, but more immediate action would be taken to improve stretches at places such as The Slochd, north of Aviemore.

It was the scene of a two vehicle crash that claimed the lives of four people at the weekend.

The A9 is mainly single carriageway north of Perth.

Other parties, including the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Conservatives have been demanding improvements.


SEE ALSO
Praise after fatal crash efforts
29 Jul 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Long-term plan to dual A9 stretch
28 Jul 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Police name fatal A9 crash pair
21 Jul 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Two die in four-vehicle accident
19 Jul 08 |  Highlands and Islands
A9 move 'not immediate priority'
30 May 07 |  Highlands and Islands
New 132m motorway link is opened
27 Apr 05 |  Scotland

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