Early reopening of road welcomed
Traffic can use busy A820 again after gas work
A busy route between Dunblane and Doune is set to reopen to traffic today (Friday) – one month earlier than expected.
The A820 had been off-limits to motorists since October 16 while SGN carried out gas improvement works.
And they say that as the first phase of their works has gone better than expected, they are now in a position to re-open the route to traffic.
It is expected that a set of two-way traffic lights will be introduced for around three or four days in the new year for the work to be completed.
SGN are undertaking the £400,000 project to extend their gas network to Deanston. They have been busy laying 1800 metres of new pipe to meet the increased gas demands from homes and businesses in the area – including Deanston Distillery.
For the duration of the closure motorists were asked to divert using the A9 and B824 while a separate diversion was in-place for HGVs via the A9, M9 and A84.
Trossachs and Teith Councillor Martin Earl is happy about the reopening of the road but says he is curious as to whether the length of closure agreed in the first place was necessary.
He said: “I welcome the reopening of the road earlier than scheduled. It has been very disruptive and I would question whether such a prolonged closure should ever have been agreed.”
Terence O’Byrne, chair of Dunblane Community Council, added: “We are pleased to hear that the road to Doune will be open Friday, which is ahead of schedule.
“We are still not happy with the way this closure was handled by SGN. They did the legal minimum by issuing a road closure notice.
“A closure of this length and disruption needs more community engagement. SGN agree that this should have been done and hopefully will learn from this experience.”
SGN say that they will finish off the works in the new year but don’t expect there to be as much disruption during that phase.
Katie Lobban, spokesperson for SGN, said: “Our work has progressed much better than we expected, and we’ve completed phase one of this project one month ahead of schedule.
“The A820 between Doune and Dunblane will be reopened to traffic tomorrow (Friday November 10).
“After the Christmas and New Year period we’ll need to carry out the remainder of our work in the field next to the road, and two-way temporary traffic lights will be inplace to ensure everyone’s safety.
“We anticipate that this final phase of our work will take less than a week to complete.”
The Observer reported last month that access to businesses in the area would be maintained for the duration of the closure – with the road open up to the area just beyond Argaty junction on the Dunblane end. Residents, including community council members, had earlier expressed their disappointment that they hadn’t been given more notice of the closure prior to October 16.
They were also concerned about the works clashing with the closure of the B8033 and Sunnyside in Dunblane for re-surfacing works.
SGN said that the two to three weeks’ notice given was typical for this kind of project, and that they had contacted all relevant ‘stakeholders’ with an email, featuring a digital map which outlined the area affected. They say they also notified Stirling Council.