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West Lochaber “Lifeline” road opens (26/06/12)
A major upgrade of one of the most rural roads in the Highlands – the A861 at Drynie Hill on the Kinlochmoidart to Acharacle road – was officially opened today (Tuesday).
The road improvement was built for The Highland Council by Wills Bros Ltd. of County Mayo in Ireland. The works, which cost in the order of £900,000, attracted grant assistance support from the European Regional Development Fund in recognition of their “lifeline” importance to the local community.
The scheme has widened and improved the narrow, tortuous single track and passing place road at Drynie Hill over a length of 1.6 km, providing a 5.5m wide two track carriageway in keeping with other widened sections of the A861. It has also improved access to Moidart and Ardnamurchan,, particularly for large heavy goods vehicles, buses and touring coaches.
The project is located in the scenic coastal area of West Lochaber and the scheme has been carefully designed to blend in with the sensitive local environment and the cultural heritage of the area.
Councillor Graham Phillips, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee was joined by pupils from Acharacle Primary School in opening the road. He thanked the local community for their patience and co-operation during the construction of the upgraded road. ERDF was vital to the funding package and was most welcome.
He said: “I am delighted that these road works have been completed. Drynie Hill presented a severe challenge and bottleneck for all motorists and visitors to Acharacle and the Ardnamurchan peninsula and the works improve access and make journeys a safer and more pleasant experience.”
As part of these works will be the planting of 60 new Western Red Cedars, to be known as the Jubilee trees in recognition of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth 2, and an interpretive plaque is to be incorporated in the new viewpoint lay-by at the top of the hill with details of these trees. They replace a row of historic Western Red Cedars which had reached the end of their life and have been carefully felled and set aside for use by local sawmills who are interested in the quality of the timber. These original Western Red Cedars, known locally as the Centenary trees, related to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations of 1896.