Businesses up in arms over proposed road closures

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Business owners are demanding a rethink over road closures between Connel and Ballachulish that will see motorists sent on a detour of more than 9o miles, adding more than two hours to some travel plans.

Ewan Mathieson, a resident and a business owner, has written in the strongest terms to the Transport Scotland’s operating body.

He said: ‘I operate a tourist business in the area.  My visitors will have significant delays in arriving into Appin and will be denied the ability to tour the area. Appin and North Argyll rely on tourism. I will lose business, income and reputation.

‘BEAR Scotland plans for significant disruption and day-time road closures to my only road north and south are completely unacceptable and need to be stopped.’

Fiona Hutchison at Kinlochlaich Garden Centre and self-catering cottages, Appin, said: ‘This will mean a complete loss of income for my business.

‘I rely on passing trade and September is a good month for passing trade.

‘If this goes ahead I will have no income and will have to look at giving my staff less working hours for the whole winter following – what I make in September goes a long way to allowing me to give my staff a job all year round rather than just seasonal.

‘We are supposed to have had a letter through the door- we haven’t.’

However BEAR Scotland say the proposal, which is earmarked to start on September 11, is at consultation stage and it will be the outcome of that consultation, which is due to close tomorrow (Friday August 18), that determines when the work is done.

The major programme of work involves 14 different schemes which will improve the A828, including resurfacing at 10 locations, four kilometres of new running surface, drainage upgrades, safety barrier installations, cycleway improvements, road markings, road stud replacement, installation of bend warning verge markers, landscaping activities and other minor repairs.

A spokeswoman for BEAR Scotland said: ‘Working simultaneously at a number of locations under traffic management most appropriate for the location and type of work, creates a much safer environment for teams to work in, as well as allowing the resources available to be deployed with maximum effectiveness to complete a range of schemes in the minimum possible time.

‘The improvements are proposed to be carried out between September 11-28 in two phases. Phase one: A828 between Ballachulish and Creagan with the road closed for three days, Monday-Wednesday, September 11-13, 8am to 7pm. Phase two: A828 between Creagan and Ledaig. Road closed for seven days, Tuesday September 19-Wednesday September 27, 8.30am to 7pm.

‘Vehicles will be diverted at Ballachulish and Connel via Tyndrum (A82 and A85). The road will be re-opened each evening.

‘Carrying out all activities within the combined project separately and at night would require at least 22 night-time closures and take up to 12 weeks to complete.’