The convener of Ramblers Scotland, Dennis Canavan, lead a protest today against the failure of Transport Scotland to protect the interests of walkers, cyclists, horse riders and other non motorised users when trying to cross the A9 at Crubenmore between Perth and Inverness.
Dennis Canavan, a former MSP and MP, was joined by representatives of local ramblers, community interests, cycling and horse riding organisations and candidates seeking election to the Scottish Parliament for the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch Constituency.
The aim of the protest was to persuade all political parties fielding candidates in the upcoming elections to the Scottish Parliament to commit to the construction of a bridge or underpass at this location. This would enable all those wishing to travel along General Wade's Military Road from Dalwhinnie to Ruthven Barracks near Kingussie, which crosses the A9 at Crubenmore, to continue to do so once current road construction operations have been completed. This route has been blocked by Transport Scotland as they have been converting the existing single carriageway at Crubenmore into a dual carriageway. Transport Scotland have made no provision for non motorised users to cross the new dual carriageway, despite their own Environmental Statement which says that 'existing travel patterns for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians should be unaffected by the preferred scheme.'
The protest follows a commitment from Alex Salmond, if he is re-elected as First Minister, to take the necessary action to secure the construction of an underpass at the site. The promise came in a letter to the Ramblers Scotland Convener following a meeting with the SNP leader. In the letter, sent on 18 April, Alex Salmond said;
'... should I be re-elected as First Minister, I will instruct Transport Scotland officials to undertake further survey work at the site with a view to promoting new road orders that include establishing an underpass. Furthermore, in making a final decision about the A9 at Crubenmore the Scottish Government, and indeed Transport Scotland, will consult with all interested parties, including the Ramblers.'
In response Dennis Canavan said;
'I am very pleased that Alex Salmond has given this issue his personal attention and has given such a clear commitment to take the necessary action to resolve the problem. I hope that other politicians will now follow suit so that the underpass will have support across the entire political spectrum, especially from party leaders.'