Preparatory work to help alleviate congestion in the Fort William area will be expedited following discussions between Lochaber MSP Kate Forbes and Transport Secretary Michael Matheson.
Ms Forbes met with Mr Matheson at the end of last year to press home the need for urgent work to speed up journey times on the A82 during the peak tourist season, and in a recent letter the Transport Secretary confirmed he will now fast track part of the project.
The Lochaber MSP has repeatedly made the case that Fort William needs its trunk road to be realigned or, preferably, that a new link road is created.
Kate Forbes MSP said: “I am pleased that, after my meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Michael Matheson has agreed to progress work on the A82 faster than the normal timescales of Strategic Transport Projects Review.
“He has instructed his officials to develop a range of options for the road network, as well as looking at other forms of transport. This is a very significant step, with direct Scottish Government intervention and instruction.”
The Lochaber MSP added: “At my meeting, I pressed home the importance of the A82 and the huge frustrations of the summer congestion.
“Since summer 2017, Transport Scotland and Highland Council have both progressed work but there are no quick fixes and changes at the Nevis Roundabout have yielded very minor improvements.
“Tweaks to the roundabout did not deliver the anticipated improvements we all hoped for, and unfortunately additional work is severely restricted.
“More optimistically, there has been a lot of work to gather evidence for the pre-STAG appraisal of a new road, either a link road or a realignment, which would of course require significant Scottish Government funding.
“At the meeting, Mr Matheson agreed that work needs to be expedited in Fort William to deliver a solution to the traffic congestion.
“Whilst I welcome the review of the National Transport Strategy which began in December, I think that the A82 needs a quicker timetable than the Strategic Transport Projects review.”