The constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch hopes that remedial work will increase on the A82 following a visit to Fort William from the Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.
Kate Forbes MSP voiced her optimism for a set of short-term works following a meeting with Mr Yousaf and a range of local representatives about the road at a meeting in Corpach.
Yesterday (Thursday 25 August) the Transport Minister travelled in an HGV from Fergusons Transport headquarters to Onich – a total of 16 miles which took 40 minutes.
Kate Forbes MSP felt that it helped demonstrate the reoccurring problems – notably congestion at the Lochybridge and Inverlochy roundabouts – on the A82.
The Lochaber MSP said: “I was delighted to welcome Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to Lochaber. In our very first meeting after the election, we discussed the importance of upgrading the A82.
“It is no secret that there is a lot of work to do on the A82, and recent accidents and tailbacks have reminded us how critical this work is. In fact, it’s a matter of life and death.
“I am grateful to the Transport Minister for being willing to get a first-hand experience of the difficulties the road poses to bigger vehicles such as coaches and lorries.
“Whilst there is no overnight quick fix, I believe there are some basic improvements – such as cutting back overhanging trees and draining ditches – which would make a big difference and could be carried out fairly quickly, at low costs."
Kate Forbes MSP continued: “Fort William has had an exceptionally busy tourist year, and that is great news.
“But we need a functioning road to cope with all of the traffic and I am becoming increasingly concerned about the traffic jams at the Inverlochy and Lochybridge roundabouts.
“On each trip to Fort William during August I have been absolutely astonished at the length of the tailbacks – after a constituency visit to Spean Bridge I sat in a five-mile queue for about an hour trying to get into the town.
“This is bad enough for commuters, but if we factor in patients attending urgent medical appointments and blue-light emergencies the situation is totally unacceptable.
“To that end I believe there is an urgent need for capital investment in some sort of access road at Caol/An Aird to take pressure off the main artery of the A82, as well as providing an alternative route in the event of closure.”
Kate Forbes MSP hopes to meet with the Transport Minister later in the year to further discuss the issue and chart what progress has been made.