Stromeferry Bypass Project Group is set up to develop a Funding Strategy
A Project Group has been set up to scope funding options for a Stromeferry Bypass.
A section of the road at Stromeferry has been subject to frequent landslips, which have resulted in a number of lengthy road closures and repairs totalling £4 million over past 5 years, with a road closure of 4 months over Christmas in 2011/12 and another road closure in the summer of 2014.
A STAG stage 2 process has effectively identified three viable routes, each with varying fit with both the STAG appraisal process and also the local objective setting following on from the local and statutory consultation exercise, they all have varying costs, but all are challenging.
The most viable options were reported to the Planning Development and Infrastructure Committee in November. These options included three preferred routes - a northern bypass and bridge, putting the rail line onto a viaduct with the road on the existing rail line corridor, and a southern bypass. These costs range from £86 million to £132 million.
The Project Group, under the leadership of Director of Development and Infrastructure, Stuart Black, has been set up to look at possible options for funding a long term solution.
Chair of the Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Thomas Prag said: “I am hopeful that the group can identify a potential way forward. This is a lifeline route for local communities in the west and we cannot continue to put very expensive sticking plasters over the problem. Any solution, however, will be immensely costly and this is where we will need to work with wider partners and the Scottish Government to find a way forward that is sustainable and provides wider benefits to the economy of the west highlands.”
The Highland Council has a programme to upgrade the A832 with £1.7million spent on the recently completed road widening project at Strathcarron, and tenders are to be sought early in the New Year for Slattadale, a project of around £1.1 million. Design works are also progressing on the Balnacra to Lair and the Slattadale to Kerryside sections, however these will be major road realignment schemes, due to the constraints and the topography of these sections. Such roadworks demonstrate a real commitment by the Highland Council to address the road infrastructure for such fragile and rural communities.