View Full Version : Braes delay

19-Jan-16, 10:43
Berriedale Braes upgrade could take up to three years

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant is extremely disappointed at the response from Transport Minister Derek Mackay which predicts upgrading the Berriedale Braes could take up to the three years.
The other disappointing news, contained in a letter from Mr Mackay to Mrs Grant, is that the money for the project will not be included in the Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2016/2017.
Mr Mackay said although the Scottish Government remained committed to delivering the A9 Berriedale Braes project, “the real terms cut in Scotland’s capital budget means we must await suitable funding becoming available to progress it further”.
Mrs Grant, who is campaigning for an early upgrade to the stretch of road, said it was yet another blow for the vital development and the community.
She had also asked Mr Mackay if it was possible to come to an early agreement with the one objector to the scheme, to avoid a delay through a local public inquiry.
However, Mr Mackay said the inquiry is still due to commence on 5th April in Helmsdale Community Centre and the overall public local inquiry process could take in the region of 12 to 18 months. Construction of the scheme is then anticipated to take a year but only if the scheme is approved and a timetable set in line with available budgets.
“So, in reality, the best case scenario is that Berriedale Braes will take at least two and a half years to reach completion from April this year, but the Government are being very cagey about committing the money for it,” explained Mrs Grant.
“Blaming a cut in the capital budget is a lame excuse for not making progress on a scheme which is badly needed for safety and for enhancing inward investment in the area for the future.
“Caithness Transport Forum, Caithness Chamber of Commerce and also The Dounreay Stakeholders Group, are all saying this vital project, which has been on the agenda for a number of years, needs to be completed without further delay.
“Let’s hope there won’t be a series of serious accidents on the braes in the coming years.”
The sole objector to the scheme is Alexander Johnston. Mr Mackay in his letter says Transport Scotland has made it clear the reasons for stopping up his private access and a pedestrian access will be provided on completion of the scheme but no agreement has yet been reached between the two parties.
Mr Johnston has previously contacted Mrs Grant regarding his objection. The draft road order, as it stands, would result in the loss of vehicle and road access to Mr Johnston’s property.