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The A82 Partnership campaign group says it intends seeking support from all political parties in the run up to May’s Scottish Parliament elections to get major improvements made to the trunk road.
Both Lochaber constituency MSP Kate Forbes and Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron have both been calling for increased action to improve the A82 in recent months.
Recently issued figures confirming the trunk road’s position as the second deadliest road in Scotland behind the A9 have focused further attention on the issue – although it should be noted that the A9 is actually more than 100 miles longer than the A82.
The partnership told the Lochaber Times it will take advantage of this current political interest and will ask all political parties to include the upgrading of the A82 in their manifesto for the May’s Holyrood elections.
‘With the recent interest in the A82 by local politicians one may come to the conclusion that there is an election in the offing,’ commented the organisation.
The three priorities of the partnership are the road between Tarbet and Inverarnan; the Fort William bypass and the road between Onich and Fort William and getting these lengths of road fully rebuilt to a standard that will serve local communities well into the future.
The A82, which stretches from Glasgow to Inverness, via Fort William, has witnessed the deaths of 50 people in the accidents over the last decade.
The partnership’s long-held position is that, as well as being such a dangerous highway through much of Lochaber, it also impacts negatively on the economic and social lives of all who rely on it for travelling around the West Highlands and Islands and to the rest of Scotland, with road closures due to maintenance works and accidents each resulting in hours of delays or long diversions.
And it says stimulating the economy will be critical to coming out of the current coronavirus pandemic and investing in transport infrastructure, such as the A82, is a key factor in meeting this objective.
Partnership spokesperson Stewart Maclean stressed that the group was not seeking ‘tinkering around the edges’ such as amending speed limits or straightening out the odd corner.
‘We seek significant financial investment proportionate to the transport infrastructure investment in other areas of Scotland for example the Queensferry Crossing, the A9, the A96 and the Aberdeen bypass,’ Mr Maclean told us.
‘The A82 is as important to the West Highlands and Islands as the aforementioned investments are to their respective communities. We wish to ensure a resilient and safe A82 for businesses, the community and future generations. ‘
Questioning the commitment of the Scottish Government to the upgrading of the road, Mr Maclean pointed out it was now almost three years since the last meeting of the Tarbet to Inverarnan stakeholder group.