Road lines needed at accident blackspot

TRUNK road contractors are being pressed to act to paint white lines in the centre of a bendy stretch of road in east Caithness which locals claim has become an accident blackspot.

Latheronwheel resident Julie Brown is pleading with Bear Scotland to do the work on the one mile section between her village and Latheron in a bid to stem the run of crashes in recent years.

She believes the lack of road markings can cause motorists to stray from their side of carriageway without realising they are doing so.

Mrs Brown first brought the matter up with Bear 12 months ago but said no action has been taken.

With autumn and winter approaching when daylight will reduce, she fears motorists will be at greater risk of being involved in an accident unless the centre markings are provided.

She said: “In winter, motorists do drive on to the other side of the road going into the bend.

“My neighbours have also noticed vehicles on the road doing this.

“I have contacted Bear Scotland about the issue but nothing has happened.

“Something needs to be done before winter to prevent another accident happening on these roads.”

Mrs Brown (50) said the stretch has been the scene of a number of accidents.

Also with wind farm developments and the success of the North Coast 500, she said roads are busier than ever.

She said: “As well as cars, there are a large number of trucks and lorries that use the road and they are not aware that there are no markings on the road.

“I have got used to it as I live here.

“But for visitors it could be dangerous.”

Wick and east Caithness Highland councillor Willie Mackay agreed that the lack of road markings poses a risk.

He said there are also other sections of the A9 and A99 where white lines need to be made more visible.

He also feels more signs are needed to increase motorists’ awareness and make roads safer.

“This is an issue that I will look into and it is a concern for motorists,” he said.

“There is a need to spruce up white lines not just on that stretch of road but on other sections of the A9 and A99, with the latter’s section from Latheron to Wick having once been labelled the most notorious stretch of road in Scotland.

“But I feel more road signs are required as well.”

A spokesperson for Bear Scotland said: “We are currently finalising plans that will see road markings refreshed on sections of the A9 and A99 that will include the Latheron area.

“We expect these road marking works to be completed before the onset of winter.”