Road part­ner­ship wel­comes sup­port for ‘fu­ture proof­ing’ A82

The Oban Times - - News -

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.’

Pho­to­graph: Abright­side Photography

Cam­paign­ers are urg­ing Trans­port Scot­land to widen the life­line trunk road to 7.3 me­tres.

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