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There is mounting anger in Argyll after it was announced that drivers will be forced to use a 50-mile diversion in the dark while a section of the A83 is resurfaced – despite a detour route running alongside.
One Argyll and Bute councillor called the situation ‘unacceptable’, while the constituency MSP has written to Transport Scotland and the cabinet secretary for transport over the matter.
Trunk road management company BEAR Scotland plans to carry out carriageway maintenance work at the traffic lights section through the Rest and Be Thankful.
The scheme is set to begin on Sunday March 10, continuing for the next four nights, with work taking place between the hours of 8pm to 5am.
At times when the A83 has been closed following landslides, Transport Scotland – which is responsible for the trunk road netwoek – has used the upgraded old military road running up the lower slopes of Glen Croe, below the ‘new’ road.
But, rather than allow traffic to use the old military road, drivers will have to endure an overnight diversion of at least 50 miles, via the tortuous A82 to Crianlarich.
Notifying ‘stakeholders’ of the plans, a BEAR Scotland official said: ‘The use of the old military road by trunk road traffic is solely reserved for emergencies.
‘Therefore, for these planned works, all road users will be required to use the approved diversion route between the hours of 8pm and 5am. We would ask all road users to plan their journeys accordingly.’
Argyll and Bute councillor Dougie Philand said: ‘I have received notification that the detour via Crianlarich is being forced upon the residents of Argyll. This is totally unacceptable as we have a detour route of the old military road that can be used, but BEAR Scotland Supported by Transport Scotland will not accept the use of the military road because it is not a landslide.
‘My belief is that any closure of the A83 is an emergency in Argyll and alternative routes such as the old military road should be used.’
Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell has written to cabinet secretary for transport, Michael Matheson, and Transport Scotland. In an emailed response to Councillor Philand, Mr Russell added: ‘I think given the history of closures and the length of diversion, the old military road needs to be made available.’
Councillor Philand is keen that the people of Argyll let Mr Matheson and Transport Scotland officials know how they feel.
He said: ‘Please use the following addresses – TSS@transport.gov.scot CabSecTIC@gov.scot – and speak out. This is your chance.’