A82 road sum­mit planned

The Oban Times - - News - ELLIE FORBES eforbes@oban­times.co.uk

A SUM­MIT to dis­cuss the no­to­ri­ous A82 is to be held in Fort Wil­liam in June.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Humza Yousaf called for the meet­ing which will bring to­gether var­i­ous groups that have an in­ter­est in the op­er­a­tion of the trunk road which links Glas­gow to Fort Wil­liam and be­yond to In­ver­ness. MSP for Lochaber, Kate Forbes, has wel­comed news of the meet­ing which will look at the need to up­grade and im­prove the A82. Ms Forbes told the Lochaber

Times: ‘It is clear that if we up­grade the A82, we will un­lock huge po­ten­tial for jobs in Lochaber. How­ever, lots of dif­fer­ent groups have dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties for the road. That is why I asked the Trans­port Min­is­ter to bring to­gether all the dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers so that we can have one con­struc­tive con­ver­sa­tion and see faster progress.’

The MSP high­lighted ris­ing pres­sures on the A82 as tourism and heavy in­dus­try in Lochaber in­creases, say­ing: ‘ We need a road that is fit for pur­pose. I hope we’ll see con­crete plans as a re­sult of this sum­mit to al­le­vi­ate con­ges­tion in Fort Wil­liam and along the A82.’

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment said £ 82 mil­lion has been spent on main­te­nance on the A82 in the last 10 years, with more than £11 mil­lion in the last fi­nan­cial year. Mr Yousaf said: ‘The A82 is a life­line route for many and I know some stake­hold­ers and com­mu­ni­ties have con­cerns about the way it op­er­ates. This fo­rum will al­low ev­ery­one in­volved to get to­gether and have their say. I have al­ready had dis­cus­sions with the A82 Part­ner­ship and Lochaber Cham­ber of Com­merce and the sum­mit will in­clude stake­hold­ers and key part­ners such as Po­lice Scot­land and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties. With all of the key or­gan­i­sa­tions around the ta­ble, I am look­ing for­ward to a con­struc­tive dis­cus­sion about po­ten­tial ac­tions which can be taken for­ward for the A82.’

Ste­wart MacLean of the A82 Part­ner­ship said any fo­cus on up­grad­ing the A82 should be wel­comed. Mr MacLean said he hopes the sum­mit will bring the an­nounce­ment that the width of the road from Tar­bet to In­ver­ar­nan will be in­creased to 7.3 me­tres, some­thing the group has been cam­paign­ing for. He said the part­ner­ship’s next pri­or­ity is getting the Onich to Fort Wil­liam stretch of road up­graded. He is also an­tic­i­pat­ing that work to cre­ate two lanes for traf­fic at Ne­vis Bridge will be on the agenda.

Mr MacLean added there will be ‘no quick fix for traf­fic con­ges­tion in Fort Wil­liam’ un­til the is­sue of a by­pass is tack­led.

Ms Forbes added there is still a lot of work to be done on the A82 and said: ‘I hope this meet­ing will pro­duce a clear plan of ac­tion that we can all get be­hind.’

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