Road repair bosses have scrapped some A9 daytime work after getting caught out by a surge in traffic when lockdown rules changed.
Drivers became stuck in an A9 traffic jam at Aldclune, near Blair Atholl, when lockdown rules changed on Monday, April 26.
The news will come as a relief to May bank holiday travellers using the iconic route during the first long weekend since the Scottish Government moved away from its Stay Local guidance.
The BEAR Scotland teams had been resurfacing the dual carriageway with “no issues”. Then a surge of lockdown-weary travellers created “long” tailbacks on the road’s Highland Perthshire stretch.
The road maintenance and management firm has now moved to avoid repeats of the jams, scrapping plans for daytime work scheduled up until the middle of May.
Work on the A9 close to Clunes Lodge and Kindallachan will now take place during the evening, from 7pm to 7am, with a convoy system in place for drivers using the road at these times.
Move to ‘ease’ impact on road users
A BEAR Scotland spokeswoman said: “The recently completed project on the A9 at Aldclune began on Monday 19 April and ran during its first week during the daytime with no issues.
“On the final day of surfacing work at Aldclune, Covid-19 restrictions across Scotland were eased further. As a result there was a notable increase in traffic volumes at this particular section of the route.
“As we had four more shifts of work to complete in a similar area, the decision was taken to move the remainder of the project to overnight working to ensure impact to road users was eased.”
Disruption on ‘key’ travel corridor
The spokeswoman added: “We recognise that the A9 is a key travel corridor. We wanted to ensure that any disruption during this first week of tourism and hospitality restrictions easing was minimised.”
This bank holiday weekend👇
Make sure to plan your journey
— Traffic Scotland (@trafficscotland) April 30, 2021
She said most of the company’s schemes on the A9 “are completed during the daytime with no significant issues”.
“It is expected that this arrangement will continue.”
She warned the A9 would busier.
“Travel and tourism restrictions are now largely eased across Scotland. We anticipate that the A9 will see an increase in traffic.
“Any surfacing schemes will be carefully programmed. Teams will actively monitor queues and manually operating traffic lights to keep disruption to a minimum.”
Highland Perthshire councillor Mike Williamson, SNP, praised the company for its response to the jams.
“I welcome BEAR’s reaction. They have seen what is going on and they have responded.
“Just because there are resurfacing works going on, doesn’t mean drivers should have to wait in traffic.”