A82 road summit planned
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.’