Stay Alive on A85

The Oban Times - - Front Page -

OUR con­tin­u­ing cam­paign to im­prove safety on the road be­tween Oban and Con­nel turns its at­ten­tion to the eco­nomic im­pact from road ac­ci­dents.

In the event of a fa­tal­ity, the road can be closed for four hours” Derek Con­nery

FOL­LOW­ING the busy Easter week­end, it is time to take stock of the sheer amount of traf­fic on the road.

It has been sug­gested that Oban is one of the busiest ferry routes in the coun­try with busi­ness sup­port­ing the com­mu­ni­ties of many is­lands as well as a huge ge­o­graph­i­cal area of the Scot­tish main­land.

When an ac­ci­dent hap­pens, the first thought is con­cern for those in­volved. But very soon that turns to frus­tra­tion and it can of­ten take hours for the road to re- open, leav­ing peo­ple stranded in the town or out­side want­ing to get in.

The town can of­ten grind to a stand­still.

If there is any doubt over the health of those in­volved in the ac­ci­dent, Po­lice Scot­land al­ways err on the side of cau­tion. In some cases, it has taken 12 hours to clear the road.

Derek Con­nery, chief ex­ec­u­tive of BID4Oban, said: ‘The first point is that any se­ri­ous in­jury or loss of life is ex­tremely dis­tress­ing for all those in­volved, ei­ther di­rectly or in­di­rectly. So the first ac­tions have to be those that re­duce the num­bers of ac­ci­dents in the first place as an ounce of preven­tion is far bet­ter than a pound of cure.

‘This can be achieved in a num­ber of ways, in­clud­ing ed­u­ca­tion, en­gi­neer­ing and en­force­ment. How­ever, in the un­for­tu­nate case of an ac­ci­dent, we must also have ro­bust mea­sures in place to mit­i­gate the im­pact on the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion and busi­nesses, and also peo­ple try­ing to ac­cess the area for busi­ness or plea­sure.

‘Cur­rently, I be­lieve that in the event of a fa­tal­ity or a pos­si­ble fa­tal­ity the road could be closed for in ex­cess of four hours.

‘This has a num­ber of im­pli­ca­tions, de­pend­ing, of course, on where you are in re­la­tion to the ac­ci­dent. At the very least this could mean a 30-mile de­tour or a 45-minute ad­di­tion to your jour­ney time, and quite of­ten more.

‘Whether you look at the time de­lay or dis­tance, we are con­sid­er­ing a sig­nif­i­cant cost to lo­cal busi­ness, lo­cal pop­u­la­tion and ul­ti­mately the lo­cal econ­omy.

‘The lack of al­ter­na­tive routes means that there has to be more re­silience built into the plan­ning for deal­ing with ac­ci­dents and also how that in­for­ma­tion is cas­caded down to the lo­cal peo­ple. If there is enough warn­ing fol­low­ing an ac­ci­dents, you can make al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments to per­haps avoid the area, rather than con­trib­ute to the con­ges­tion.’

Sign the pe­ti­tion below or at change.org for im­proved road safety on the A85.

Next week, coun­cil can­di­dates are asked for their view on how to im­prove safety on the route.

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