Join us and Stay Alive on the A85

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

THE mes­sage is sim­ple – Stay Alive on the A85.

Af­ter years of car­nage, near misses and lives changed for­ever, we have now set up an of­fi­cial cam­paign to have safety on the road be­tween Oban and Con­nel im­proved.

Count­less peo­ple have con­tacted the pa­per this week to say the cam­paign is long over­due and they will sup­port it.

What has be­come clear is that what hap­pens on the A85 changes lives for­ever. One reader who con­tacted the pa­per said that af­ter be­ing in­volved in a crit­i­cal ac­ci­dent on the road his life had never been the same.

While re­main­ing name­less at present, due to on­go­ing le­gal is­sues, he told the news­pa­per: ‘I used to be able to do any­thing I wanted. I was not afraid of any­thing.

‘Af­ter be­ing in hospi­tal for months, my life has changed for­ever. When I sleep I still imag­ine things like my chil­dren be­ing in the car, or be­ing cut out and the noise from all the equip­ment.’

New­cas­tle-based Mary Blyth, 73, con­tacted The Oban

Times af­ter her son pointed out the Stay Alive on the A85 cam­paign. Mrs Blyth, who was vis­it­ing fam­ily in the area at the time of her ac­ci­dent some five years ago, said: ‘I was driv­ing along the road one evening in dry weather. It was still light, when a minibus came straight for me. There was a huge crash. I can’t re­ally re­mem­ber what hap­pened. But, thank­fully, both my­self and the minibus driver were not in­jured.

‘When we even­tu­ally got out of the car and the minibus, there were loads of peo­ple around try­ing to help us. But we needed to wait for emer­gency ser­vices.

‘The other driver’s mo­bile phone didn’t work prop­erly and there was dif­fi­culty in get­ting my car door open. But apart from that we were phys­i­cally un­scathed.

‘As for the night­mares and the sleep­less nights, I think that I am over them but then one hap­pens again and I start be­ing ner­vous and anx­ious all over again.

‘Un­less you have been in an ac­ci­dent, you never re­ally know what it is like. That night was the clos­est I have ever come to death. I don’t want to go there again any­time soon.

‘It has made me a very cau­tious and anx­ious driver.’

Driver Alec Mitchell, from Oban, said he was ‘sick and tired’ of try­ing to get some­one to lis­ten to his con­cerns.

‘It starts with a lack of dou­ble white lines on the road so peo­ple can­not over­take.

‘There are very few things that in­di­cate that the town’s big­gest ceme­tery is around the next cor­ner and folk might be cross­ing the road.’

Some of the ideas be­ing con­sid­ered by a panel of ad­vis­ers, made up from lo­cal ex­perts and emer­gency ser­vices, is to ed­u­cate peo­ple on good driv­ing in terms of the roads and con­di­tions, set­ting a lower speed limit in­cre­men­tally with a re­duc­tion to 40mph, in­creas­ing the length of the no over­tak­ing dou­ble white lines, and in­stalling av­er­age speed cam­eras along the en­tire length of the road from Tyn­drum to Oban.

One ad­viser said the area was about to go through ma­jor de­vel­op­ment with many houses pro­posed for the Dun­beg cor­ri­dor to Gana­van. With no out- of-town su­per­mar­kets, the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple will be mak­ing their way into Oban for shop­ping.

With so many ex­tra homes over the next three to five years, the ur­gency to have the road up­dated is even more im­por­tant, it was sug­gested.

The cam­paign is be­ing co- or­di­nated by Louise Glen and David McPhee who can be con­tacted via oban­ or on 01631 568000.

Next week we launch the on­line pe­ti­tion, so watch the web­site and so­cial me­dia for up­dates.

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