Argyllshire Advertiser leader column – September 18, 2020

The Queensferry Crossing - almost complete

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The current spate of A83 landslides began in 2007. That’s 13 years ago.

The same year, Transport Scotland commissioned a study on options for new Forth crossings. The £1.5 billion Queensferry Crossing was opened in 2017.

Procurement for M8 and M73 improvements started in 2011, and the £500 million projects completed in 2017.

The Aberdeen bypass was approved by ministers in 2009 and opened last year, costing approximately £1 billion.

We could go on.

Argyll has not been deemed important enough by politicians for real investment, yet our main road artery – relatively more important than the M8 – has been unreliable and dangerous for 13 years.

We started our ‘Invest in the Rest’ campaign four years ago, and shied away from emphasising the danger aspect lest we be accused of scaremongering – despite the fact that a motorist was lucky to escape a landslide earlier that year.

But someone will, eventually, be seriously hurt.

We need to think beyond the A83, however, if Argyll is to emerge from our slide into social and economic torpor.

It requires energy and ambition. We need to lift our heads, ask bright young engineers, local folk and businesspeople what they think. We must look at alternative means of funding.

We need fresh ideas.