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£280,000 project to upgrade Sustrans' National Cycle Network route through Drumochter pass alongside A9

By Gavin Musgrove

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The cycle path over the Drumochter pass was resurfaced for part of the way last year.
The cycle path over the Drumochter pass was resurfaced for part of the way last year.

A NEW £280,000 project is now under way to improve one of the main routes for cyclists and walkers entering and leaving the Highlands.

The National Cycle Network Route 7 is being resurfaced through Drumochter.

The Transport Scotland project involves upgrading almost four miles of the cycle path between The Wade Stone and Dalnaspidal.

It follows on from a similar project carried out on nearby sections last year.

The work is expected to last up to four weeks and will take place between 7am and 7pm daily excluding weekends.

To ensure the safety of road workers and path users, the cycle track will be temporarily closed.

Information boards have been erected at closure points advising cyclists and walkers of the next available chance to rejoin the track.

A spokesperson for contractors BEAR explained: “As this option is likely to involve travelling on the A9, we are providing a shuttle service travelling between the closure points for cycle track users who do not wish to travel on the trunk road.

“The shuttle vehicle is available between 7am and 7pm and a contact phone number along with instructions to follow will be provided at each closure point.

“As some cyclists may wish to travel on the A9, ‘Cyclist’ warning signs will be situated at regular intervals along the A9 to increase driver awareness.”

Short sections of carriageway closures will be in place on the A9 at intermittent periods during the project for the safe delivery of surfacing materials.

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s north west representative, said: “The £280,000 investment from Transport Scotland will allow our teams to carry out this essential resurfacing project at this section of Route 7, greatly improving the condition and safety of the route in this area.

“We’ve changed our ways of working in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure all staff and the local community are kept safe at all times, and all personnel will be subject to strict physical distancing protocols in line with Scottish Government guidance.

“The temporary restrictions on the cycle path are essential to ensure the safety of road workers as well as users of the route. However, we’ve taken steps to help minimise disruption by avoiding working over the weekends and offering a shuttle service to those who do not wish to travel temporarily on the A9.

“Our teams will look to do all they can to complete the project as quickly and safely as possible.”

A military road was first built through Drumochter between 1728 and 1730 by General Wade. It is the high point on the A9 corridor, at 460 metres.

NCN Route 7, known as Lochs and Glens North, travels between Inverness and Glasgow and is ideal for long-distance cycle tourers or bike packers.

Mark Tate, Cycle Friendly Kingussie spokesman, said: “We welcome this further upgrading of the surface on the key NCN7 cycling route.

“Hopefully Transport Scotland and BEAR will take the opportunity to relocate the bollards that have been placed in the centre of ‘grip strip’ on many of the bridges on the section that was resurfaced last year as these force cyclists away from the section of the bridge designed to keep them safe.”

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