Scotland’s transport bosses have announced they will review Fort William’s “bizarre” speed limit set-up in the coming months.
The speed limit changes nine times in the seven-mile stretch through the Lochaber town.
Local politicians yesterday welcomed the news that Transport Scotland would look at the issue soon – and said they hoped “common sense” would prevail.
Motorists currently travelling along the route from the Croit Anna Hotel on the A82 on the south side of Fort William to the Annat Industrial Estate near Corpach on the A830 have to endure more than one change in speed limit per mile, ranging between 30 and 40 mph.
When schools are in, there is also a temporary 20mph zone for short periods on weekdays.
The review by Bear Scotland has been instigated following pressure by Lochaber representatives to find a viable solution to the “bizarre” system.
Conservative MSP Donald Cameron and Kate Forbes of the SNP aired their concerns as they appealed for a simplified system along the busy stretch of road.
Mr Cameron hopes the review will finally rectify the situation to improve traffic flow and road safety.
He said: “It’s important that public agencies are responsive to local concerns, so I am pleased that Transport Scotland has responded positively and recognises that there is a case for reviewing the speed limits.
“I look forward to receiving their recommendations which I hope will improve traffic flow and road safety.”
Local councillor Andrew Baxter said he hopes the review will help restore some “common sense” through the heart of Fort William.
He said: “It’s fantastic news. I’m really pleased that two of our local MSPs have finally convinced Transport Scotland to undertake this review.
“I know in previous years, local community councils have said to Transport Scotland that it needed changing and that they missed the opportunity during the last review, a number of years ago to create a bit of sense as you go through Fort William as you have to many different speed limits in different places.
“I look forward to seeing what this review comes back with and I very much hope that we will have some common sense prevail for once.”
Miss Forbes said the decision over the “bizarre” situation marks a victory for the people of Lochaber.
She added: “I think consistency matters, and I am pleased that Transport Scotland has recognised that.
“This was first raised by a constituent, it shows the power of constituency representation and joint party working. In these days of fraught political debates, it’s refreshing to be working across party lines.”
Kilmallie Community Council has been long campaigners of change along the busy trunk road.
John Hutchison, acting chair of Kilmallie Community Council and one-time divisional roads engineer with Highland Regional Council, yesterday welcomed the news and said alterations to the current speed limits is long overdue.
He said: “Residents of Kilmallie are certainly keen to see lower speed limits and so I welcome this review.
“The Highland Council will shortly be reducing the speed limit on the side roads that join the A82 and A830 and so Transport Scotland must bear that in mind in their review.”
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “Speed limits must be consistent with the layout and function of the road and be appropriate for the surrounding environment.
“As the character of the A82 and A830 changes a number of times through Fort William, Corpach and Banavie, a distance of over seven miles, it is appropriate that speed limit reflects this.
“In autumn 2020, we instructed Bear Scotland to review the speed limit on the A830 between A82/A830 roundabout and Corpach and it is expected that this study will commence this financial year.”