Photo gallery of the rock fall
250 packed into Lochcarron Village Hall on Monday night for a public meeting regarding the measures being taken short and longer term to combat the closure of the A 890 Stromeferry Bypass between Lochcarron and Kyle/Plockton due to the danger of further rock fall.
The meeting was advised that the road was likely to remain closed until at least 17 February, when The Highland Council hoped to be able to reopen the road on a temporary basis. Four contractors had been invited to tender for the short-term works, which included the possibility of diverting traffic on to the adjacent railway line. The projected date for the completion of stabilisation works was 20 April.
It was hoped to extend the operating hours of the six-car turntable car ferry, which was introduced yesterday and operated between 9 am – 5 pm, to better accommodate commuters. Today the ferry is due to operate between 8.30 am – 6 pm and the skipper is looking at extending the run to between 7 am and 7 pm with fewer runs during off peak times. A limited Sunday service is planned.
The Council is also in discussions with Transport Scotland and Scotrail to introduce an early morning service between Inverness and Kyle, which will arrive in Kyle at 8.50 am. This could be used to transport the 56 pupils attending Plockton High School from Applecross, Kishorn and Lochcarron, ensuring they arrived for the start of the school day. Discussions are continuing to see if a service can be provided to return pupils after the school day. The train currently leaves Plockton at 5.26 pm.
From yesterday, a passenger ferry has been commissioned by the Council to transport pupils between North Strome and South Strome, with buses taking the pupils to and from Plockton High School.
Improved signage will also be examined by the Council.
The public meeting was chaired by Councillor John Laing, Chairman of the Council’s TEC Services Committee, who expressed the Council’s regret at the closure of the main link between Lochcarron and Plockton/Kyle since a rockfall on 22 December. He said the Council fully appreciate the inconvenience caused to local businesses and residents by the continuing closure.
He said the Council had responded as quickly as it could to put in place interim arrangements and priority would be given to finding a long term solution. He warned that the cost could be anything between £40 million - £70 million.
He said: “Be assured, we are focused on improving the short term arrangements for getting people about and we will be looking very closely at the options for replacing the existing bypass.”