Community benefits from £300k road upgrade
The small highland community of Polloch is to benefit from a £300K project that will improve a short section of ‘life-line’ public road to make it suitable for timber lorries.
Timber lorries using the 50 year-old Polloch to Glenfinnan in-forest road have historically joined the single-track public road for 2.4km on the south side of Loch Doilet. However, damage caused by 140,000 tonnes of timber carried on the road meant that in 2014 it was excluded from further use.
The project to upgrade this section of public road – and the bridge over the Polloch River - is backed by the Scottish Government’s Strategic Timber Transport Fund, administered by Forestry Commission Scotland, and match funding from The Highland Council.
As well as improving the public road it will also secure the long term timber access into Glen Hurich and Achnanellan.
Dr Ben Lennon, who heads the Commission’s team in Lochaber, said;“Polloch is a very small community and the one, single-track road in and out is a lifeline that everyone relies on. Forestry is also an important element of the local economy, so the damaged surface – and its being barred to timber lorries – was a bit of a double whammy.
“This partnership project is a fantastic boost for the community because it will provide residents with a high-quality road that will serve them well for years to come.
“But it also means that around 300,000 tonnes of land locked timber can be taken to market over the next 30 years.”
Once the upgrade is complete and timber lorries can again use this section of road, a further measure of long-term protection will be added by only using trucks fitted with Tyre Pressure Control Systems (TPCS) that minimise wear and tear on road surfaces.
The project has enjoyed the support of all the Ward 22 Councillors.
Chair of The Highland Council’s Community Services Committee, Councillor Henderson said: “This productive partnership approach means that a badly damaged road can be repaired and enhanced and can carry on to serve the local community for many years to come.
“Good team work has been very effective and I am particularly pleased as much of the existing road materials as possible is going to be used in the reshaping before the overlay work is done.
“This cuts down on material and haulage costs and also is good news for reducing our carbon footprint.
“I would like to congratulate Forest Enterprise staff and staff from the Council for their hard work so far and look forward to travelling along this stunning route once the road is completed.”
The Polloch project is one of four major Highlands’ projects that in 2015/16 will benefit from over £2M of funding. The others are: Ruthven Bridge; Flow Country Timber Links; and the South Loch Ness In-forest link.