Roads plan offers little for A82 trunk road in the Highlands
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TWO top Highland councillors have said there is “no long term strategy” for the A82 trunk road in the region.
Allan Henderson and Ben Thomson, who both live near the route, say the government’s Strategic Transport Projects Review (STRP2) framework, published last week, gives little hope of an upgrade any time soon.
STPR2 is the key government funding document for transport projects over the next three decades,
Councillor Henderson, chairman of Highland Council’s communities and place committee, said: “STPR 2 is a bit of a disappointment with it being split into two phases and most of the really important items for the Highlands being shovelled into the second phase – but what is new?
“I do notice support for the Inverness city centre work around the station with Network Rail acquiring all the land around to make for a positive passenger and freight development.
He continued:“It is certainly disappointing for roads and, while understanding the wish for people post Covid to travel en–masse by coach and train to help the green, de–carbonising agenda, I see little to enable it.
“The bus money is targeted towards the larger city centres and not the Highlands where we have a dearth of bus routes and poor roads for the services to get about, even if they were available.
“On the roads issues, while I am supportive of active travel there needs to be a touch of reality about the use in the urban Highlands as a mode of travelling to work. It is certainly to be encouraged for slow tourism, reducing the requirement for car holidays.
“Here the car will always be the priority with the distance required to get to work which cannot be done from home.
“I live close to the A82 and regularly see logging lorries and coaches mounting pavements to pass each other in sections that are deemed two-way, never mind the goat track on Loch Lomondside.”
Councillor Ben Thomson, chairman of the A82 Partnership group, said: “There does not seem to be any long term strategy for the A82 north of Crianlarich.
“The ongoing STPR process just highlights this.
“Residents from Argyll, Lochaber and Loch Ness deserve to know why little or nothing in the way of safety improvements is coming forward for a road they depend on.
“No wonder it is the most dangerous trunk road in Scotland compared to the volume of traffic.
“The level of government inaction is perplexing to say the least.”
A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said: “STRP2 will report in two phases. The first focusses on investment in the short term – up to five years – and represents investment which will seek to lock in positive benefits and travel behaviours of individuals during the pandemic as well as making steps towards a green economic recovery.
“Phase 2 will complete the review and report in autumn 2021, giving Scottish ministers a programme of potential transport investment opportunities for the period 2022-2042.
Read more about the A82: Make it Safe campaign.