Join us and Stay Alive on the A85
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 obantimes.co.uk or on 01631 568000.
Next week we launch the online petition, so watch the website and social media for updates.