Letters to the editor – May 21, 2021

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Just get on with it

Sir,

I have been reading a lot of reports and letters in national and local newspapers about the problems experienced at the Rest and be Thankful.

I have no doubt that those charged with keeping the trunk road operational and safe for drivers are doing their best in the circumstances. However, there now seems to be an acceptance in Transport Scotland that a new solution has to be found.

In a letter to the press, George Allan points out that the 20-mile route from Strathlachlan to Colintraive and the eight miles between Ormidale and Tighnabruaich were designed and constructed in 12 or 13 years.

I was a member of the survey and design team on these routes. I was also involved in the construction of 100 miles of the A9 between Perth and Inverness in 10 years. These civil engineering schemes demonstrate what can be achieved when there is real political will and commitment to prioritise projects.

I realise Transport Scotland has its own procedures for appointing consultants for the design processes and there are detailed environmental impact assessments to be done. It does, however, seem to me that its programming of the Rest and be Thankful improvement is completely lacking in ambition.

As a former director of roads and transport in Highland, perhaps I may be permitted to comment on the long-term solution.

I would say if there are no geological features found on the other side of the glen which will cause a repeat of current problems, then the construction of a new road in diversion would cause less disruption to traffic than trying to form landslip shelters or tunnels adjacent to the existing carriageway.

The main thing though is for Transport Scotland and their political masters to just get on with it.

Philip Shimmin, Inverness.

Great work at canal

Sir,

I would like to say thank you to all the lads who have been working at the Crinan Canal – often when the north winds were blowing and water was pouring down from the hills into the empty canal more quickly than the pumps were able to remove it.

The men greeted me each morning as I walked past to go over the temporary bridge. They were trying to renew the basement concrete which supports the new bridges in spite of the wet, cold weather.

Fortunately, April was drier and they managed to fit the new gates thanks to the massive cranes and the skill of the lorry drivers carrying these heavy loads to and from the canal.

Others have cleared the rubbish, including lots of old car tyres, which had been dumped.

It is good to see the canal filled and in working order again.

J Thorgrimsson, Ardrishaig.