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Trunk Roads (Dualling)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 7th November 2013.

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Photo of Jim Hume Jim Hume Liberal Democrat

3. To ask the Scottish Government what factors it takes into consideration when deciding which stretches of trunk road are appropriate for dualling. (S4O-02554)

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

A range of factors including traffic flows, safety, environmental and economic impacts are considered when deciding infrastructure priorities; that includes the dualling of stretches of trunk road.

Photo of Jim Hume Jim Hume Liberal Democrat

Accidents are three times more likely to occur on the single-carriageway sections of the A1 than they are on the dual-carriageway sections. I recently attended the inaugural meeting of the Scottish A1 action group and discussed the compelling business and safety case for the dualling of A1 from the English border to Dunbar. Will the minister today join the growing consensus, which includes Scottish Borders Council and East Lothian Council and local businesses, and mirror the United Kingdom Government by commissioning a feasibility study into dualling the A1 on our side of the border?

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

If it is so important, why did the previous Administration not look at the issue during all the time that it had to do so? We have looked at the issue, and I repeat the response that I have previously given to the member: we have no plans for dualling the A1. He requested an update of our plans in view of a report that the UK Government was set to approve an upgrade of the A1. That is not the case, as the member has rightly said. All that the UK Government has said is that it will conduct a feasibility study.

We believe that the A1 in Scotland, which is nearly all dualled, enjoys relatively safe and efficient transport operations and experiences few journey time reliability issues, despite some capacity constraints and congestion points, which we have acknowledged. We have a route management strategy and measures in place on the A1 to maintain the route’s physical condition and safety standards. We do not intend to fully dual that road.