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MSP furious with Government response to Stromeferry by-pass problem

A train passing the A890 Stromeferry bypass works. Picture by Sandy McCook
A train passing the A890 Stromeferry bypass works. Picture by Sandy McCook

A Highland MSP has slammed the Scottish Government for ‘washing its hands’ of solutions for the ‘dangerous’ Stromeferry by-pass.

After meeting with transport secretary Michael Matheson, Rhoda Grant said he refused to assist with any funding towards upgrading the A890.

Mrs Grant said: “The whole issue of the Stromeferry by-pass keeps getting kicked into the long grass and it is an issue that has gone on now for nearly 40 years.”

The road has many unstable rock faces and requires constant monitoring for landslips on a road used by school buses, locals and tourists.

Highland Council has responsibility for the road, and faces a bill of up to £3m over the next two years to stabilise further rock faces after carrying out stabilisation work over twelve weeks at the end of last year.

Mrs Grant said: “The council cannot afford the funding for options proposed to address the Stromeferry bypass problem, which amount to somewhere between £70 million and £120million.


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“I have suggested on more than one occasion that the government should take over responsibility for this road given it is the gateway to south-west Ross and the Uists.

“The government has consistently knocked back all proposals and suggestions.”

Mrs Grant said Mr Matheson repeatedly told her it was a matter for Highland Council.

She said: “I doubt very much whether there would be this dragging of feet if the route passed a more urban area down in the central belt.”

Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson also recently met the transport secretary to raise the issue.

She said at the time she was left ‘disappointed and frustrated’ by his offer for the council to talk to the Scottish Futures Trust [an infrastructure delivery company owned by the Scottish Government].

She said: ““I feel we’ve got to get way beyond that and need to have the will to find a real solution.

“The money the council needs to spend to stabilise the rock face means there’s some primary school somewhere not getting done.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “As the A890 is a local road, responsibility for a decision to upgrade or improve the route ultimately lies with the council.”

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