Iconic A82 to be widened

Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf introduced the Islands Bill to Parliament last year.

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The A82 between Tarbet and Inverarnan is set to become a 7.3m wide carriageway, the Scottish Government confirmed today.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf was announcing at the A82 summit in Crianlarich today that Transport Scotland will take forward this design as the preferred option.

The Scottish Government invested £11 million last year in the management and maintenance of the A82, and is investing a further £11 million this year.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Mr Yousaf said: ‘We have looked at the evidence for the A82 and there has been a marked increase in traffic flows suggesting the need for a wider carriageway on the challenging stretch from Tarbet to Inverarnan. I have met many people and businesses who use the route and they have asked for this change to be made.

‘Upgrading this part of the trunk road route to a 7.3m carriageway will lead to improved journey times and reliability and will benefit freight carriers.

‘Having identified the preferred option, we have been progressing the next stage of design work with a view to preparing draft orders for the scheme next year and will continue to engage with locals, road users and other stakeholders as we do so.

‘When completed, this upgrade will bring improved road safety and journey time reliability, connecting businesses and communities in the Highlands and Islands with the central belt.’

Argyll and Bute Council’s policy lead for roads and amenity, Councillor Roddy McCuish, said: ‘We have been involved in and supportive of the process to improve this key strategic route as it will have a beneficial impact on the economy of the whole of Argyll and Bute and the islands.

‘This work will deliver better two-way access for HGVs and a safer route due to the 7.3m width, and also mean future maintenance can be single lane closures as the additional width provides more resilience and reliability.

‘This decision recognises the importance the Scottish Government places on the strategic road network in Argyll and Bute, including the A82, A83, A85 and the A828. All provide essential connectivity into our area.

‘We will continue to emphasise the importance of these strategic routes in our area to ensure we have good access to the central belt which will benefit residents, businesses and visitors.’

The Road Haulage Association’s Martin Reid said: ‘The A82 is of the utmost importance to the Scottish economy and this particular section provides a vital link to the north-west and the Western Isles.  The increased road width is a welcome piece of news, particularly to our members who have long campaigned with us for improvements on the A82.

‘The increased width will not only make this section of the route much easier to negotiate for the heavy vehicles and coaches that are vital to the Scottish economy but, more importantly, it should prove be a contributor to safer access and egress to and from the north-west of Scotland.’

Alasdair Ferguson, of Ferguson Transport and Shipping, added: ‘Making this stretch of road 7.3m wide is both forward thinking and future proofing, to the benefit of all A82 trunk road users. It will make the road fit for purpose for the economic development of the whole West Coast of Scotland and is essential to improve safety and reliability.’