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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Calls to remove lorries from A9
Mr Fraser said freight should be moved by rail rather than lorry
Transport authorities are being urged to set up a rail consortium to reduce the number of HGVs on the A9 between Perth and Inverness.

Deputy Scottish Conservative leader Murdo Fraser said moving freight by train instead of by lorry would improve safety on the notorious route.

In the past five years, there were more than 80 fatal collisions on the road.

The Scottish Executive has already started talks with companies to try to persuade them to move goods by rail.

Dual carriageway

Mr Fraser said: "Ever since I became an MSP, I have been campaigning to make the A9 a safer road.

"In the short term, this means urgently making safe some dangerous stretches of road and junctions and removing HGVs from the road.

"That is why I want to see action taken to set up a rail freight consortium between Perth and Inverness, which will allow businesses to transport their goods by rail instead of road on the A9.

"Eventually, the A9 needs to be made into dual carriageway."

Some progress

The SNP administration has previously said turning the entire route into a dual carriageway is one of its long-term aims.

The Scottish Executive said it had already made some progress on attempts to reduce the number of lorries on the A9.

Earlier this year, the transport minister Stewart Stevenson announced a 2.3m freight facilities grant for Inverness Harbour Trust.

A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "Although it will not transfer freight to rail, it will reduce road freight.

"The Scottish Executive freight grants team are also currently in dialogue with a number of companies who are in the early stages of developing projects for the transfer of freight from the A9 to rail."

Man seriously injured in A9 smash
02 Aug 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Extensive upgrade on danger road
23 Jul 07 |  Highlands and Islands
'Deadly junction' upgrade begins
10 Jul 07 |  Tayside and Central

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