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Accident blackspot impacting business

Following the recent spate of incidents and subsequent road closures on the Berriedale Braes section of the A9, Scottish Chambers of Commerce calls upon the Scottish Government to bring forward its plans to invest in this part of the road.

Liz Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

“Once again, businesses and communities in Caithness have suffered as a result of the fragility of the transport infrastructure in this part of Scotland. The hairpin bend at the Berriedale Braes section of the A9 is known locally as an ‘accident black-spot’ and has been the site of many incidents in recent years, with road closures and long detours a frequent occurrence.

“On the 5th August, a 5 hour closure of the Berriedale Braes section of the A9 at peak time - following an HGV catching fire - resulted in a 77 mile and 2 hour detour for road users. On this occasion, HGVs were forced to turn back altogether as the diverted route was not suitable for HGV traffic, accounting for about 1 in 10 vehicles on the road. It is simply unacceptable that road users, businesses, and communities not only in Caithness but also in Orkney, face this level and frequency of disruption to their lives and livelihoods.

“The adverse economic effects of these road closures and detours on businesses in Caithness are significant, but with the required investment to upgrade this part of the A9 estimated at approximately £2.5m, a fraction of the overall £3bn set aside for the A9 upgrade programme south of Inverness, this economic disruption could be substantially reduced at a relatively low cost to the taxpayer.

“Scottish Chambers of Commerce has met with ministers to try to resolve this issue and will continue to work with Caithness Chamber of Commerce in urging that the Scottish Government commit to allocating a budget to the agreed preferred option of improvement, and significantly accelerate its deadline to complete work.”