IT is one of the most scenic roads in Scotland but is also one of the most dangerous due to the layout and high volumes of traffic, especially at the height of the summer tourist season.

Now a motoring expert has said that more use of two plus one overtaking lanes and raising the speed limit for HGVs could help cut accidents on the notorious A82 which links Glasgow and Inverness.

A public consultation is being launched aimed at improving the safety of the A82 “gateway to the Highlands” trunk road, which twists its way via Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Fort William and Loch Ness.

READ MORE: Grim statistics reveal Scotland's 10 most dangerous roads 

Road safety campaigners say the road has been under the radar because of a focus on the A9 in Perthshire, generally regarded as the country’s worst for safety – statistics published last year revealed there was a crash resulting in a casualty every three days during 2018.

Since 2017, more than 20 people have lost their lives through accidents on the A82 and there has been a series of crashes in recent weeks. Herald figures published earlier this year found there has been 73 serious or fatal accidents between January 2017 and summer 2019, the highest tally in Scotland.

The notorious Loch Lomond stretch has benefited from widening, while significant works are planned from Tarbet to Inverarnan.

Kate Forbes, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, who is launching the consultation, said its purpose is to identify the other areas most in need of safety measures, which can then be prioritised for work.

Drivers cite the stretch from Glencoe to Fort William and the area around Loch Ness as particular trouble spots.

Neil Greig, policy director for motoring charity IAM Roadsmart, said greater deployment of overtaking lanes, which are said to have dramatically reduced head-on crashes in Sweden, should be considered.

Two plus one roads consist of two lanes in one direction and one lane in the other, alternating every few kilometres and separated, usually with a steel cable barrier.

READ MORE: Michael Matheson defends £3bn upgrade of A9

He said: “It’s a road with lots of character but one that I think has been possibly a bit under the radar compared to the A9 and the A83 Rest and Be Thankful of late. 

“It is a major and important route to the Highlands and I think it has some real problems, for example at Loch Ness. 

“In an ideal world you would like to see the resources being targeted at the areas where accidents are happening so it should be data led, but my feeling about the road is that a lot of the problems are caused by frustration, through lack of over-taking opportunities.

“You can’t feasibly dual most of the A82 in the way of the A9 because of the nature of the land it goes through.

“What we would like to see is more over-taking opportunities and that could be done with trying out better designs of two plus one. That was tried on the A9 and wasn’t particularly successful but it’s accepted practice in Sweden and the rest of Europe that you do this. 

“We would probably need to look at new designs of it because what would happen is that people would use it as a three-lane road.

There is a section of two plus one at Loch Lomond which seems to work quite well. If people know there are overtaking opportunities ahead, they are more inclined to wait for those opportunities.”

Mr Greig said raising the speed limit for the biggest HGVs – in England it has been lifted to 50mph from 40 could also help.

READ MORE: Two people cut free after serious crash on major Scottish road 

He added: “It sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but it seems to make people more comfortable and not attempt silly over-takes. People think they are being held up by an HGV doing 40mph but that is the speed limit. In England it’s 50 and it hasn’t led to crashes.

“The good thing about the consultation is that they are treating it as a whole route and an important route.

"A combination of major engineering work to straighten out some of the corners, more overtaking, junction improvements and widening where they can would be good.

"People do get fatigued on these roads and I also think there does need to be more stopping opportunities.”

SNP MSP Kate Forbes, whose constituency includes the majority of the A82 route, said she will use the survey results to lobby for “realistic and evidence-based improvements”. 

She said: “It is widely accepted that the A82 is in need of further investment and upgrade work. People like me who drive the road on a regular basis will know some of the best and worst bits, and that is the purpose of this survey.”

The consultation will close just before Christmas and it is hoped that the results will be announced in early 2021.

To contribute to the survey go to