Study into Corran Narrows fixed link options

A study is underway into the feasibility of replacing Scotland’s second busiest ferry service with a fixed link bridge or tunnel.

The Highland Council, HITRANS and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are joint funding the study at the Corran Narrows in Lochaber.

It is being carried out by transport infrastructure specialists, Stantec, and follows previous analysis carried out in 2018. 

The study is exploring whether it’s feasible to create a fixed link across the Corran Narrows and identify if the business case compares favourably with that of maintaining a ferry service over the next 60 years.

Stantec have identified five potential route corridors for fixed links. Two of these are for a low-level bridge, two for a high-level bridge and one for a tunnel.

An update on the project has been submitted to Highland Council’s Lochaber area committee for their meeting on Wednesday (19 February). Councillors are being asked to agree that the final report of the study is submitted to Transport Scotland as soon as possible as part of the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2).

Neil MacRae, Partnership Manager at Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS), said:

“This is a timely study that seeks to understand the business case supporting the different options for connecting across the Corran Narrows to best serve the communities of Morvern and, Ardnamurchan and beyond to Mull. The final report will help local partners make the case for investment in this strategic link at a national level."

Martin Johnson, interim director of strategy and regional economy at HIE, said: 

“In previous decades, the construction of fixed links elsewhere in the Highlands and Islands have provided sustained benefits for communities.  New fixed links can offer the potential to open up remote areas to additional economic opportunities and improve access to jobs for residents.  It is therefore important that these types of infrastructure interventions are duly considered when identifying the most suitable long-term option for the Corran Narrows crossing.”

STPR2 is a Scotland-wide review of the strategic transport network across all transport modes.  It will make recommendations for potential transport investments for Scottish Ministers to consider as national investment priorities in an updated 20-year (2022-2042) Infrastructure Investment Plan for Scotland.

18 Feb 2020