Action must be taken quickly to support Highland businesses following a top-level summit to discuss the notorious A82.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf announced that the road, which links the central belt to the West Highlands and Inverness, will be top of the agenda at the meeting to be held in June.
Lochaber Chamber of Commerce welcomed the move but said major expansion of businesses in Fort William will put the road under even more pressure and the town can’t sustain the increasing volume of traffic.
Lesley Benfield, the chamber’s chief executive officer, said: “While we welcome the discussion which the summit will bring, it is vital that action is taken, and taken quickly, to support the large businesses which operate in and around Fort William.
“Marine Harvest, BSW, Ferguson Transport and Shipping have all recently announced major expansion plans in the area. Additionally, the smelter in Fort William, which is under new ownership, has development plans which aim to create a significant number of new jobs which will necessitate new housing as well as supporting infrastructure. There is also a new retail park under construction, so all of these will put the A82 under even more pressure.
“The road is too narrow for both the volume of traffic and types of vehicles, and there are insufficient stopping places to either allow traffic to overtake slower moving vehicles, or to allow visitors to stop safely and appreciate the views along the route.
“Lochaber is experiencing high growth levels of tourism and business investment, and it would be a shame if the forthcoming summit falls short of expectations and there is a further delay in the relevant parties being able to take immediate action to improve the infrastructure so badly need. On behalf of our members we sincerely hope that the Minister will act accordingly.”