Contractor poised to start six-month A83 project

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There are signs a much-delayed major road construction project on the A83 is about to start.

Trunk road management firm BEAR Scotland announced on Tuesday December 5 that John Paul Construction, the main contractor appointed by Transport Scotland, was setting up its site offices ahead of the start of construction at Strone Point.

Transport Scotland had earlier announced a start date for the project of Monday December 4, but that date passed with no sign of activity around the notorious accident blackspot.

BEAR Scotland has now said temporary traffic lights will be in place from Monday December 11 at the location between Inveraray and Dunderave. These will be in place until the scheme – expected to take 28 weeks – is completed next summer.

To keep disruption to a minimum over the Christmas period, the temporary traffic lights will be removed from Friday December 22 until Wednesday January 3.

Work will involve scaling back a 300 metre long section of the hillside next to the carriageway. This will open up the width of the road and improve driver visibility round the bend. New road markings, signs, safety barrier and bike guard will also be added to further improve road safety.

A BEAR Scotland spokesperson said: ‘The initial phase involves installing protection measures on the rock face before teams start construction on the road. The protection measures will ensure any debris or loose rocks will be prevented from reaching the carriageway.

‘Due to the height of the cut back at some locations, however, this protection will not be sufficient and some of the operation will need to be carried out during overnight road closures for safety purposes. These closures are likely to take place for four nights in mid-January and four nights towards the end of February. Further information will be shared once dates have been confirmed.’

BEAR Scotland will be supervising the works on behalf of Transport Scotland.

Eddie Ross of BEAR Scotland added: ‘We are pleased that the long-awaited scheme at Strone Point is about to get under way on the A83.

‘John Paul Construction has phased the project to minimise disruption to the public as much as possible, however, some overnight road closures are required for safety due to the complexity of the works and restricted area on site. Details will be shared once confirmed.

‘Delays at the temporary traffic signals are expected to be minimal however, as always, we encourage road users to plan their journeys in advance by checking the Traffic Scotland website for up-to-date journey information and consider allowing extra time.’

The reconstruction project at Strone Point was put out to tender by Transport Scotland at the end of 2016 following earlier delays. The contract was awarded in January 2017 to Irish multinational company John Paul Construction – but contract wrangling over measures to maintain traffic flow stalled progress until December 2017.