Calls have been made for urgent “life-saving” upgrades to Scotland’s most dangerous roads ahead of a debate in Holyrood on Wednesday.
The Scottish Conservatives say that recent deaths on the A9 and A96 show the need to upgrade the roads to full dual carriageways along their entire lengths.
It comes as it was revealed that deaths on the A9 this year are at their highest level since 2010.
The party will lead a debate on the issue in Holyrood on Wednesday and say that the death toll on roads will rise unless SNP ministers stop “pandering” to their partners in the Scottish Greens.
During the opposition time debate, the Conservatives will call for ministers to set out a timetable to dual the remainder of the routes.
Conservative MSP Graham Simpson said: “The tragic spike in fatal collisions on the A9 and A96 this year is horrific – and highlights the need for action from the Scottish Government now.
“We can’t simply accept this shocking death toll, especially when there’s something we can do to tackle it. Both these trunk roads would become safer overnight if they were fully dualled.
“SNP ministers must stop pandering to their anti-car coalition partners – the Scottish Greens – and get on with delivering these crucial, life-saving upgrades now.”
He continued: “Progress on delivering what is a long-standing SNP commitment has been painfully – indeed fatally – slow. That’s unacceptable.
“Ministers must stop dithering and spell out an accelerated timetable for completion.
“While saving lives is the paramount consideration here, these upgrades would also boost Scotland’s economy.”
A spokesperson for Transport Minister, Jenny Gilruth said: “A single death on Scotland’s roads is one too many and the recent accidents on the A9 and other roads like the A96 are a tragedy for everyone involved. We are working with Police Scotland and our agencies to understand the circumstances of these accidents but, as investigations continue, it would be inappropriate to comment further.
“Unfortunately, roads cannot be dualled overnight and the Scottish Government – which has already invested some £400m in dualling the A9 – continues to prioritise safety across Scotland’s road network.
“There is undoubtedly a place and a need for a respectful debate on this issue, not least on how we continue to invest in the safety and resilience of the network against a backdrop of reducing capital budgets. Sadly, it does not look like we will get that approach from the Scottish Tories. Mr Simpson’s remarks would carry more sincerity if they weren’t accompanied by needless political point scoring.”
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