Road partnership welcomes support for ‘future proofing’ A82
SUPPORT for plans to ‘future proof’ a vital Highland link have been well received by a road organisation, writes Monica Gibson.
The A82 Partnership has been campaigning for upgrades to the A82 trunk road to 7.3 metres in the Tarbet to Inverarnan Scheme.
Highland Council and The Highland and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) has sent letters to Humza Yousef MSP, the minister for transport, and Transport Scotland consultant engineers giving their backing for a road width of 7.3 metres.
The road improvement, which is presently being designed by Transport Scotland’s consultant engineers, will upgrade a 17-kilometre section of the A82, the essential infrastructure lifeline for the West Highlands and islands.
Early indications were that the road upgrade would be designed around a six-metre carriageway, but strong representations have been made by the A82 Partnership and West Highland businesses that the upgrade should be ‘future proof’ and designed around a 7.3-metre carriageway.
HITRANS has asked Mr Yousef to ensure that the final design reflects the nationally strategic function of this trunk road.
HITRANS chairman James Stockan said: ‘The objective must be to upgrade the A82 with a consistent design along its full extent with a 7.3-metre carriageway plus hard strips, adequate overtaking opportunities and a 60mph design speed outwith settlements.’
Representatives from the A82 Partnership say the plans have also been bolstered by comments made by the Highland Council in a letter to Transport Scotland’s consultant engineers stating, ‘Highland Council considers a road width of 7.3 metres to be the necessary road width for HGV and coach traffic using the A82. This road width will remove the current barrier where some haulage companies currently avoid the A82 due to the constrained road width.’
Brian Murphy, chairman of the A82 Partnership, welcomed the growing support: ‘HITRANS and The Highland Council, in their letters, are reflecting the belief within the community that such a significant investment in our infrastructure should not be constrained by limiting the carriageway width to six metres but ensuring that the demands of the next 30 to 40 years are met.
‘It is essential that this upgrade realises the full economic potential of the West Highlands and islands, including the ambitious plans that the Liberty House Group have for the smelter in Fort William.’
Campaigners are urging Transport Scotland to widen the lifeline trunk road to 7.3 metres.