Crash victim calls for big shakeup of A9 diversions
Pensioner says narrow, unsuitable roads often become gridlocked and dangerous
A pensioner left partially disabled in a head-on collision has called for better safety measures and emergency traffic plans when accidents close the A9.
Ronnie Weir, 71, suffered serious leg injuries in the crash last April. The female driver of the other car died at the wheel.
The accident, which smashed his kneecap, happened at Kindallach just one mile from his Dowally home and left the A9 blocked for seven hours.
Ronnie had to give up his career as a ski instructor and still struggles to walk.
He is now calling for a shakeup of diversion routes, often narrow roads which become gridlocked and dangerous when the A9 is closed.
Ronnie said: “I was told I was lucky to be alive but there are so many accidents on that stretch and not everyone is so lucky.
“Once it is dual carriageway the head-on collisions will stop so I’m all for that. The problem we have in the meantime is that traffic is diverted on to all of these completely unsuitable roads.
“There are HGVs and caravans, then they end up crashing into each other and the traffic is backed up so much that nobody can turn round.”
Queues stretching for miles were commonplace this summer as the A9 was regularly blocked by accidents north of Perth.
A woman riding pillion on a motorcycle died after a collision with a bus at the Kindallachan turn-off in September.
Three other people have died on the A9 since May. The trunk road connecting Perth to the Highlands was closed for several hours each time, causing chaos on surrounding roads such as the A924 between Pitlochry and Blairgowrie.
Ronnie said a one-way system was agreed following his crash 18 months ago, so separate diversions would be used for north and southbound traffic, but this has never been implemented.
“I was told at the time this had all been agreed and would be in place for the next time there was a crash and it has never happened, even though there have been plenty of crashes,” he said.
“It would stop the roads being gridlocked for hours and everything being brought to a standstill.
“The last time there was a bad accident on the A9 the police tried to send me into a diversion which was already backed up for miles. The crash was more than a mile away from my house, which I was trying to get back to, yet they tried to send me into a queue it would take hours to get out of.
“It doesn’t make sense.” Diversion routes are agreed by Scottish road authorities, Police Scotland and Perth and Kinross Council.
None of them were able to confirm if there were plans to change the arrangements.
A police spokeswoman said: “There are agreed diversion routes set by Transport Scotland and the local authorities in consultation with Police Scotland.
“We do appreciate that motorists may have to wait some time whilst we are dealing with serious road traffic incidents but we do endeavour to complete this work as quickly as possible.
“It is important that after serious or fatal collisions that a thorough investigation is completed to establish the circumstances and provide answers for those affected and we must not lose sight of why these investigations need to happen.”
Bear Scotland said: “We have had previous discussions about introducing additional standard incident diversion routes on the A9 corridor, specifically related to the Kindallachan area.
“Whilst it would be useful to have further options in terms of diversion routes, we are mindful that there are some existing concerns from the community that we need to discuss with Police Scotland and the councils regarding the existing standard incident diversion routes.
“Bear Scotland is planning to meet with Police Scotland and the councils to discuss these matters in the coming months.”
Nobody from the council was available for comment.
The police tried to send me into a diversion which was already backed up for miles
Ronnie Weir, top, was involved in an accident on the A9, above, which left him partially disabled. Now he is calling for better diversion routes in the case of accidents on the road.