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Four-year battle to install crossings on busy Highland road takes step forward

David Devine
David Devine

A four year battle to install pedestrian crossings at danger points on a busy Lochaber road took a step forward this week.

Long-suffering residents of Corpach and Banavie struggle daily to cross the A830 – which runs from Fort William to Mallaig – because of the amount of traffic using the road and the lack of safe crossing points.

But a transport boss told a meeting of Kilmallie Community Council last night: “I want what you want,” and revealed a feasibility study will start shortly, concentrating on two crossing danger points at Banavie swing bridge and the Corpach shops.

David Devine, area manager for Transport Scotland, said: “We carried out two surveys of the road in 2015 and 2016. We have decided a study should take place to determine where controlled pedestrian crossings should be put in. The pros and cons of where people want to cross have to be weighed up.

“BEAR Scotland will be carrying out this study as there is a need for these crossings at Banavie swing bridge and the shops at Corpach. The study will show whether crossings can be physically installed where people want them.

“Road safety must come first, second and last and we will do our best to work hand-in-glove with the local community. There are lots of plates to spin in the air, but the first hurdle has been crossed.”

Concerns were raised at the meeting about cars parked in the layby opposite the Corpach Co-op and the narrowness of the island in the middle of the carriageway.

Community council chairwoman, Christine Hutchison, said: “It’s just not safe to stand on this island especially for people with prams or in wheelchairs. They have to be sideways on. People also have to go in front or behind the parked cars to cross.”

Arthur Cowie of the Lochaber Disability Access Panel, added: “It’s important that the islands in the road are up to standard, especially for wheelchair users. A pedestrian crossing at the railway station should also be included as the new Belford Hospital will be situated in Kilmallie.”

Mr Devine said: “BEAR will be consulting key stakeholders, such as the community council, the Police, Scottish Canals as well as retailers as they consider what is feasible.

“Money is in the budget for this study and hopefully it will be completed by the summer.”

Local campaigner, Jan MacLugash, added: “I feel heartened now it is being acknowledged that there is a problem crossing this road, particularly for the less able, as my daughter, Tina, has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. I’m glad there is transparency and the community will be involved when BEAR carry out the study.”

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