Essential safety improvements will take place from Sunday at the A9/B9161 junction at Munlochy in the Scottish Highlands.
On behalf of Transport Scotland, BEAR Scotland will be carrying out works to prohibit the right turn manoeuvre northwards from the B9161 road onto the A9 northbound carriageway to Tore. Highland Council have made a legal order to prohibit this manoeuvre, which comes into force on 21 November.
The scheme will be the latest in a package of measures carried out by BEAR Scotland on behalf of Transport Scotland to improve the safety and operation of the junction, which has been an area of concern for road users. The prohibition of the right turn was one of the favoured options during public consultations undertaken as part of the North Kessock to Tore study. These works will supplement the recent installation of street lighting and earlier works involving traffic sign improvements and installation of central reserve safety barriers.
This phase of the project will involve the permanent removal of the right turn facility to the A9 northbound carriageway from the B9161 at this junction. To allow the prohibition to be implemented quickly as possible, it will initially be implemented with temporary barriers and signage. A permanent kerbed traffic island will be constructed by mid-2023 to replace these initial measures. The works will reduce turning manoeuvres at the junction and simplify its layout.
The works will be undertaken overnight to limit disruption to road users. Once the temporary measures are installed, traffic exiting the B9161 will be required to travel south on the A9 and use the grade separated junction at North Kessock to access the A9 northbound carriageway. Due to ongoing road works by Scottish Water on the unclassified road U2723 Tore to Artafallie road that runs parallel to the A9, this route is not expected to be available as an alternative route until early 2023.
For the safety of road users and workers, there will be a temporary speed limit of 30mph and temporary lane closures. Any excessively noisy operations will cease by 23:00 each night and every effort will be made to reduce inconvenience. BEAR Scotland has worked closely with Transport Scotland and Highland Council to introduce these works and coordinate the diversion route.
The Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Chair, Cllr Ken Gowans is pleased that works to improve safety for drivers are to begin. He said: “I welcome the news that works are starting next week at the Munlochy junction that tie in with the other Active Travel works Bear Scotland are undertaking on the A9 between the Kessock Bridge and the North Kessock Junction.
“We are all committed to making this section of the trunk road as safe for drivers as possible. I urge all road users to follow the temporary speed limits and safety signs, especial those involving lane closures, for their own safety and the safety of the crews carrying out the work.”
Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West Representative, said: “We are keen to have these important road safety measures installed as soon as practicable to reduce conflicts and accident risk at this busy junction and make it easier for drivers. The introduction of these measures builds upon the work already carried out at Munlochy junction. Road safety is a top priority for BEAR Scotland, Transport Scotland and The Highland Council, and this scheme on the A9 at Munlochy junction is part of our commitment to improving road safety on the trunk road network.
“The temporary traffic management arrangements are essential for the protection of our workforce as well as motorists; however, we’ve arranged these works to take place overnight when it is less busy. Due to the nature of the works required, lane closures and temporary speed restrictions are required to ensure it is completed in the shortest possible time. Our teams will do all they can to complete the project as quickly and as safely as possible and minimise delays and inconvenience to the local community.
“We encourage all road users to plan their journeys in advance by checking the Traffic Scotland website for up to date journey information.”
(Picture – Google Streetview)