Business chief calls for upgrade of Speyside's 'whisky highway'

A SCOTTISH business champion has called for investment in the A95 road - dubbed Speyside's 'whisky highway'. Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has backed suggestions outlined in a Sunday newspaper by Tim Allan, president of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, for improvements to the A95, which runs from Keith to Aviemore and connects to the south via the A9. After a recent visit to the area and where he met members of Moray Chamber of Commerce, Mr Allan said Transport Scotland should "up the urgency on their plans to ensure the 'whisky highway' - the A95 - does not continue to be neglected".

Mr Allan gave examples of hauliers having to spend more than GBP1,000 a week replacing wing mirrors clipped as HGVs struggle to pass each other on narrow sections of the road. Mr Halcro Johnston has previously raised concerns that the focus on efforts to dual the A9 and A96 risked over-riding the case for an A95 upgrade. The Scottish Government has made a commitment to dual the whole A96 from Inverness to Aberdeen by 2030.

Mr Halcro Johnston said: "Anyone who uses the A95 will recognise Tim Allan's description of how hair-raising it can be, with increasing numbers of lorries travelling along a road which is clearly inadequate for the volume and type of traffic, and which has been for some time.

Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston in Aberlour.

"It is also concerning that, given the A95 is linked to the heavily promoted Snow Roads, the number of tourists travelling along a road with which they will be unfamiliar is only likely to increase. "The A9, A96 and A95 are some of the commercial arteries of the Highlands but, while progress on the A9 and A96 is proceeding - albeit at a glacial pace - there appears to be no serious plans for significant improvement to the A95." The MSP added: "Moray's businesses, including some recognisable global brands, need to be able to get their products to market in a timely fashion.

And local people and visitors need to be able to get around Moray safely, particularly with public transport sometimes sketchy or non-existent in rural areas.

"Moray needs a fit-for purpose transport infrastructure and that means serious consideration must be given to improvements to the A95."

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