From Monday 26 March, the early morning opening hours of the A 890 Lochcarron – Kyle road on the Stromeferry Bypass will be extended. This takes account of the pre-planned withdrawal of the early morning train between Strathcarron – Kyle, which was introduced last month to take pupils from Applecross, Kishorn and Lochcarron to Plockton High School in time for the start of the school day.
The road, which has been closed since 22 December following a landslide, will now be open under traffic lights, barrier, and convoy control between 7.10am until 10.30 am. Monday – Friday, This will allow pupils to travel to and from school by bus and road, instead of train, bus and passenger ferry.
The car and passenger ferries which have been providing emergency transport between Lochcarron and Stromeferry across the Strome narrows since early in January are being withdrawn after the last evening sailing on Friday 23 March.
The partial opening of the A 890 has been possible because of modification works to the railway track which allow road vehicles to share the railway track with trains under a traffic management system. This has allowed vehicles to be diverted on to the railway line at the location of the rockface stabilisation works. The diversion is designed for local traffic only and a 7.5 tonne weight restriction is being applied strictly.
The revised timetable when the road diversion will be open to vehicles is now as follows:-
Monday to Friday (0710 to 1030; 1135 to 1155; 1340 to 1420; 1610 to 1700; 1810 to 1900)
Saturday (0710 to 1030; 1340 to 1420; 1610 to 1700; 1810 to 1900)
Sunday (0710 to 1245; 1400 to 1505; 1615 to 1900).
Neil Gillies, Director of Transport Environmental and Community Services, said: “The Council is extremely grateful to Scotrail for providing the early morning train to Kyle. This was a huge benefit to the pupils travelling daily to Plockton. Our thanks also go to the owners and crews of the Glenelg car ferry, the Glenachulish, and the Plockton passenger ferry, Sula Mhor, for providing such an important community service in the absence of their lifeline road. Their help was absolutely vital in keeping things moving during the road closure.”
Mr Gillies also paid tribute to TRAC Engineering for working round the clock to partially reopen the road before the ferries had to return to their normal duties and to Network Rail for allowing the railway line to be used to take traffic.
He added: “All our energies will now be focused on completing the safety work on the rockface to allow the road to open fully as soon as possible.”
Mr Gillies also voiced his appreciation of the support the Council has received from the local population during the period of the closure. Their understanding, forbearance and their helpful comments during the planning and implementation of the various mitigation measures were all much appreciated.