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PLANS to improve safety at the Banavie Primary School junction have been unveiled.
The school’s parent council received drawings from Transport Scotland earlier this week outlining plans to narrow the A830 carriageway at the existing patrolled crossing, shortening the crossing distance and reducing the speed of vehicles.
The existing crossing of the A830 is an average of 11.4m wide, with the proposed crossing width narrowing to 7.4m.
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: ‘We shared our proposed design to improve safety at the Banavie Primary School junction with the head teacher, parent council and other community representatives this week, following a productive meeting held in July to understand the issues at the junction.
‘Our proposed plans include narrowing the road at the existing patrolled crossing to reduce vehicle speeds and the time
it takes to cross the road, which will make it easier and safer for those wishing to cross.
‘We are also working with utility companies with regards to timescales and have asked stakeholders for their views on undertaking works during the Easter break to minimise disruption for the school. We are looking forward to receiving feedback on our proposals and suggested timescales.’
But Caol and Mallaig councillor Ben Thompson has said that, while the proposal is to be ‘welcomed’, it is ‘not the end of the story’.
He said: ‘The crossing should be a pelican crossing like the A82 at Inverlochy. The A830 has less traffic but higher traffic speed. I’ll certainly keep pushing for pelican crossings here and elsewhere on the A830.’
Mr Thompson told said: ‘It frustrates me that Transport Scotland’s trunk road policy prioritises maintaining vehicle speeds over pedestrian safety in rural Highland villages. This is especially a problem where the trunk road is the only road right through the middle of a village, as it is in many Highland villages.
‘The council leader, Margaret Davidson, has recently raised this issue with Humza Yousaf, the Scottish transport minister. I’m pushing to rebalance the priority back towards vulnerable local users, especially where primary-age kids are regularly involved.’
Louise Pescod, from the school’s parent council, added: ‘We have built up a good relationship with Transport Scotland after working with it over the past year on this and I am pleased with the progress. This is a way forward for us – something positive is finally happening and it’s a step in the right direction.
‘The volume of traffic coming through Banavie and Corpach will continue to increase and we need to be proactive, not reactive.
‘The parents I have spoken to are on board and want to push on with the plans now.’