Highland MSP Kate Forbes admits there is no ‘quick fix’ to A82 concerns
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MSP Kate Forbes, for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, has said work on the A82 will be a marathon not a spirit.
Supporting the campaign A82:Make it Safe, Ms Forbes lays out her thoughts about the road.
She said: "Later today I’ll be heading down the road to Fort William for constituency business, and will travel there and back on the A82.
"Whatever the weather, it’s a road I regularly travel on, being the main arterial route for much of the West Highlands, an area which I have the privilege of representing.
"When pandemic restrictions ease again in the Highlands, I suspect I’ll be clocking up many more miles on it in the months and years to come.
"It is without a doubt one of the most scenic and spectacular roads in Scotland. Some travel guides have even promoted it as an alternative way to get to the Highlands, beating the sometimes barren landscape of parts of the A9.
"However, with its twists and turns over rugged and challenging landscapes, it’s definitely one of the most challenging roads in the country. Over the years, I’ve seen or heard about accidents, near-misses, branches falling onto the road, tyre-shredding potholes, convoys of slow-moving vehicles, lengthy delays and closures.
"Change must, can, and will happen.
"Every single death is a death too many. I cannot begin to imagine what grieving families have been through who have lost loved ones on this road. To that end, I welcome the campaign and will gladly work with anyone seeking to improve this major route.
"But we must balance that consensus for change with the realisation that there is no quick fix. It will be a marathon, not a sprint.
"At 167 miles, the A82 is the second longest trunk road in Scotland.
"There are various stretches which must be prioritised – the sections through Fort William, between Glenmoriston and Spean Bridge and between Tarbet and Inverarnan are regularly raised with me as priorities.
"There are plans in place to improve the road between Tarbet and Inverarnan, work has progressed (albeit slowly) on the stretch through Fort William and I have spoken to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport about the sections north of Fort William.
"Change is possible. Since being elected as the constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch – which also includes Loch Ness – multiple campaigns have actually delivered results, whether that’s for changing the speed limit, widening the carriageway, improving signage and road markings and also creating pedestrian and active travel provision.
"If it were easy or simple, the A82 would have been improved long before now.
"It will take momentum, unity and constant progress to bring it up to the standards we expect."
She concluded: "I recognise that challenge and I will back all efforts to deliver that."
To sign the A82:Make it Safe petition, being run by our sister paper The Inverness Courier,visit tiny.cc/a82makeitsafe