Early re­open­ing of road wel­comed

Traf­fic can use busy A820 again after gas work

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Robert Fairnie

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.

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