Extra funding approved for A890 Stromferry rock stabilisation works
Members of The Highland Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure (EDI) Committee have approved an additional £2.185m for further remedial rock stabilisation works at the A890 Stromeferry bypass. They have also agreed the formation of a Cross Party Options Selection Group to consider the recommendation of the preferred long term solution for a bypass.
The Highland Council undertakes detailed assessments of the slopes every year. The 2018 inspection report identified four very high risk rock slope areas. Two of these very high risk areas require similar stabilisation measures to the works that were completed on a separate section of the rock face in November last year. The other very high risk areas are on separate slopes where specialist fencing measures will be needed.
The agreed extra funding will come from the capital budget with £1.9M allocated in 2019/20 and £800K in 2020/21. The current allocation in 2020/21 is £515K.
Chair of the Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson said: “The Council continues to seek a long term solution for the A890 at Stromeferry and work to assess alternative routes and come up with a preferred option is underway but as a priority we need to take action to make safe the four very high risk slopes which the annual inspection has identified.”
“The Council’s Infrastructure Design team have given very detailed consideration to these works, the methods of construction and the associated traffic management so I am pleased that now the funds have been secured they will be able to move forward.”
The proposal is to undertake stabilisation to two slopes in Autumn 2019 and at the same time undertake the ground investigation works required to design the upslope catch fencing with this work to be scheduled for 2020/21.
Following the decision taken by committee today, officers will undertake public consultation with the local communities and road and rail users regarding the nature and detailed timing of the works so any disruption can be kept to a minimum.
Cllr Henderson added: “Remedial works to the rock face are a sticking plaster with the long term solution being recognised by all of us as the ultimate goal. This is why I’m pleased that as well as the extra funding for works the Committee approved the setting up of the new options selection group. This group will consider the work that has been done in identifying and assessing the alternative route options and all the related issues. It will also continue the work with partners with the aim of securing funding for a long term solution.” ”
The four local ward members – Cllrs Biz Campbell, Ian Cockburn, Alexander MacIness and Derek MacLeod - will be joined on the Members Working Group by the Chair and Vice Chairs of the EDI Committee, and the Chair and Vice Chair of Corporate Resources.
Cllr Biz Campbell said: “”I am pleased that the committee have allocated this additional funding as this is a lifeline route for the local communities and we need to make sure we do all we can to keep the road open. My role as a member of the new Options Selection Group will be to make sure that a long-term solution for Stromeferry remains a top priority. I will also be looking for assurances that the stabilisation works taking place this year are carried out after our main busy summer tourism season and mitigation measures are put in place to keep any disruption to a minimum.”
The committee also agreed a budget allocation of £0.925m for stabilisation works at the Kinloch Hourn landslip site.
On Monday 10 November a landslip occurred near the Loch Quoich Dam which severed the transmission lines and blocked the road. The money will be used to carry out the necessary work to re-open the road, which as well as being an access route to SSE infrastructure, dams and hydro schemes, is popular with cyclists, hillwalkers and visitors to the area.