Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A9 communities say local roads have not become “rat runs” . . .


A9 communities say local roads have not become “rat runs”

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An average speed camera - nicknamed a yellow vulture

Communities along the A9 say they have seen no evidence of people using nearby local roads as “rat runs” to avoid the controversial average-speed cameras.

And some said they had seen an improvement in the speed and flow of traffic on the busy Inverness to Perth trunk road since the cameras were switched on.

Highland MP Danny Alexander wrote to Transport Minister Keith Brown saying he has been contacted by local people who said roads to close to their homes were being used as “high-speed rat runs”.

He said this was happening on the B9152 between Kingussie and Aviemore and the A938 between Carrbridge and the Slochd.

But the leaders of Aviemore, Strathdearn, Carrbridge and Kincraig and Vicinity community councils all said they were not aware of the problem.

Retired police officer John Grierson, chairman of Aviemore council, said: “I’m not aware of it happening here.

“Anyone who tries to use the back roads as a rat run is going to get there later. They are nowhere near as quick as the A9 unless you drive like a maniac.

“I’d like to know where Danny Alexander got his evidence from.”

Strathdearn Community Council chairwoman, Vivian Roden, said: “I’m not aware of any great increase in traffic or speeding here.

“We were concerned it might happen, but, as far as I’m aware, it hasn’t been a problem. However, it’s early days yet.”

Carrbridge council chairman Andrew Kirk said: “I honestly don’t think it’s happening in Carrbridge and I don’t think there would be any advantage to coming through Carrbridge.”

And Dave Brown, chairman of Kincraig and Vicinity Community Council, said: “I’ve driven the B9152 several times in the last week or so and not noticed any difference at all and nobody has complained to me.

“I’ve also driven the A9 since the cameras were switched on and I think I’ve seen an improvement.”

But Mr Alexander defended his letter to the Transport Minister saying the information about motorists using local roads as “rat runs” had come directly from constituents, who had written to him or emailed him about this.

He said: “One of the main concerns about the speed cameras in the first place was that traffic would be displaced.

“I think it’s important to get on top of this problem now, rather than waiting until times of the year when the road is busier and these problems are going to emerge even more.”

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