Sec­ond smash at Strone Point in a week - clo­sures ques­tioned

Argyllshire Advertiser - - NEWS - Colin Cameron edi­tor@ar­gyll­shiread­ver­tiser.co.uk

I have made it clear there must be ac­tion by Trans­port Scot­land now Michael Rus­sell

BEST of the West was in full swing when the crash hap­pened, clos­ing the main road artery link­ing the fes­ti­val’s In­ver­aray venue with Glas­gow and the cen­tral belt.

The col­li­sion, be­tween a van and motorbike, was the sec­ond in a week on the A83 at Strone Point, where work to im­prove the road is se­verely de­layed.

For­tu­nately nei­ther was fa­tal, but peo­ple were se­ri­ously in­jured in both crashes. And the A83 was closed for hours while in­ves­ti­ga­tions were car­ried out.

Ar­gyll and Bute MSP Michael Rus­sell is now look­ing for an im­me­di­ate start to work at Strone Point, say­ing: ‘A sec­ond ac­ci­dent at the same point em­pha­sises the urgent need for this work to be done with­out any fur­ther de­lay.

‘I am con­tin­u­ing to make the point to the [Trans­port] Min­is­ter and I have made it clear to him there must be ac­tion by Trans­port Scot­land now.’

Con­cern is grow­ing, too, over the way in which di­ver­sions have been man­aged and the length of time roads are closed for in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing non-fa­tal accidents.

Many mo­torists head­ing for Cowal ar­rived at Tar­bet in the wake of the Septem­ber 2 ac­ci­dent to be told they must di­vert round by Dal­mally. On ar­rival at In­ver­aray they, of course, could not get past the ac­ci­dent site. Frank and He­lena Wood were in one of the cars turned back at Tar­bet to head for Dal- mally. They were try­ing to get to Lochgoil­head, which should have been un­af­fected by the road clo­sure.

Frank said: ‘We took the signed di­ver­sion, only to get to In­ver­aray to be told we had a three-hour wait. We were go­ing Lochgoil­head, so why such a lack of in­for­ma­tion at Tar­bet? They wouldn’t let us pass and there was no in­for­ma­tion as to where in­ci­dent was.’

He added: ‘As a re­tired fire­fighter I to­tally un­der­stand the need for safety for all emer­gency ser­vices con­cern­ing and the on­go­ing ac­ci­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion. But the to­tal lack of in­for­ma­tion at Tar­bet, as to where the ac­ci­dent was, was ridicu­lous to say the least.

‘This needs look­ing at to stop it hap­pen­ing again.’

Mr Rus­sell said: ‘I have been con­cerned about lengthy clo­sures for some time and have urged the po­lice and oth­ers to use new tech­nol­ogy such as laser scan­ning to pro­duce the in­for­ma­tion they need.

‘I have also com­plained be­fore about vague signs which means peo­ple do not know ex­actly where the road is closed. I shall ask Trans­port Scot­land and the po­lice to look at these mat­ters again and they would also be im­por­tant top­ics to have raised at the next A83 Task Force Meet­ing.’

Cowal coun­cil­lor Alan Reid is chair­man of Cowal Trans­port Fo­rum.

‘There were ‘road closed’ signs at Tar­bet and no Trans­port Scot­land of­fi­cials or po­lice to tell driv­ers the road was open as far as Strone Point,’ claimed Mr Reid.

‘I will be putting this on the agenda for the next Cowal Trans­port Fo­rum meet­ing on Oc­to­ber 4.

‘At the meet­ing, Trans­port Scot­land and po­lice rep­re­sen­ta­tives will be ques­tioned on their re­sponses to these road clo­sures and asked for as­sur­ances that in the fu­ture, clear in­for­ma­tion about where the road is ac­tu­ally closed will be given at both Tar­bet and In­ver­aray.’

A Trans­port Scot­land spokesper­son said: ‘Our con­cern lies with those in­jured and with fam­ily and friends at this time.

‘As po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions are on­go­ing it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to com­ment fur­ther at this time, how­ever, we are li­ais­ing with Po­lice Scot­land to ob­tain more de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on these accidents.’

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Many rev­ellers at Best of the West found them­selves stranded un­til the road re-opened around 6pm – while oth­ers were un­able to get there at all.

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Michael Rus­sell - press­ing for ac­tion at Strone Point.

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