The A82 is one of the most scenic roads in Scotland, but also one of the most dangerous, particularly during the peak tourist season, due to its route and heavy traffic.
More usage of two plus one passing lanes and a rise in the speed limit for HGVs could help minimize accidents on the infamous A82, which connects Glasgow and Inverness, a motoring expert has now said.
A public consultation to enhance protection on the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ A82, which snakes its way through Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Fort William and Loch Ness, has been launched.
Grim figures show the 10 most dangerous roads in Scotland.
Road safety activists say the road was under the radar because the attention was on the A9 in Perthshire, which is generally known as the most dangerous road in the country – figures released last year showed a fatality accident in 2018 every three days.
Since 2017, more than 20 individuals have lost their lives in incidents on the A82, and a variety of accidents have occurred in recent weeks. Figures published earlier this year showed that between January 2017 and summer 2019, 73 serious or fatal injuries occurred, the largest number in Scotland.
The famous stretch of Loch Lomond has benefited from widening, while important work is planned from Tarbet to Inverarnan.
Kate Forbes, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, who is initiating the consultation, said the aim of the consultation is to identify the other areas where safety measures are most needed and which can then be prioritized for work.
The Glencoe to Fort William road and the area of Loch Ness are cited by motorists as unique trouble areas.
As they have significantly decreased head-on accidents in Sweden, Neil Greig, director of the charity IAM Roadsmart, said higher usage of passing lanes should be considered.
Two-plus-one highways consist of two lanes, alternating every few miles and generally divided by a steel cable barrier in one direction and one lane in the other.
The £ 3 billion enlargement of the A9 is being defended by Michael Matheson.
It’s a path with a lot of character, he said, but one that I think has recently gone a little below the radar compared to the A9 and A83’s Rest and Be Thankful.
It’s a big and important route to the Highlands, and I think it’s got some real problems, like Loch Ness, for example.
You would like to see money in a perfect world aimed at places where incidents occur, because it should be data-driven, but my impression about the road is that a lot of the issues are caused by irritation, by a lack of opportunities for overtaking.
“Because of the nature of the terrain it passes across, much of the A82 can’t be two-way like the A9.
What we would like to see is more chances to overtake and that could be done by trying better two-plus-one designs. That was attempted on the A9 and was not especially good, but to do so is common practice in Sweden and the rest of Europe.
We’d also have to look at new designs because it would be used as a three-lane road by individuals.
There is a segment of two plus one lanes in Loch Lomond that seems to fit very well. If people know there are prospects ahead of them, they are more likely to wait for those possibilities.
Mr. Greig said it could also help to increase the speed limit for the biggest vehicles – it has been increased from 40 to 50mph in England.
After a major accident on the Scottish main road, two people were cut loose.
It sounds a little counter-intuitive, he said, but it seems to make people feel more relaxed and not attempt dumb maneuvers of overtaking. People think a truck traveling 40 miles per hour is going to stop them, but that’s the speed limit. It’s 50 in England and it hasn’t contributed to injuries.
The positive thing about the consultation is that it is viewed as an entire path and a substantial route.
It would be good to combine big engineering work to straighten some curves, further overtaking, junction changes and widening where possible.
“People get tired on these roads and I also think there needs to be more opportunities to stop.”
SNP MP Kate Forbes, whose constituency covers much of the A82 road, said she would use the findings of the survey to advocate for rational and evidence-based results.