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Speed limit reductions on Lochaber trunk road

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The speed limit on a key route to the Highlands will be cut to try to slash the number of fatal and serious accidents.

Transport Scotland has drawn-up plans to introduce a 50mph limit on a notorious 15-mile stretch of the A82.

The “slow down” order will apply to the winding section of the main road from Glasgow, through Lochaber and on to Inverness between Ballachulish and Fort William.

But last night, there were calls to extend the speed curb to the stretch between Fort William and Spean Bridge which has also become an accident black spot.

In the past year there have been six fatalities on the A82 between Onich and Spean Bridge.

There was one death at Onich, three at Spean Bridge, one at Torlundy, and one between Corran Ferry and Fort William.

Stewart MacLean, of the A82 Partnership which campaigns for safety improvements on the trunk route, said the public would have to be consulted.

He said: “We have to discuss exactly what the impacts are going to be, from a safety standpoint, and from an economic and travel time view, because it will impact on the whole Glasgow to Inverness A82.

“My concern is that a speed limit is the easy answer instead of major infrastructure investment.

“Let’s have public discussions about why, when and where.”

The reduction from 60mph follows a review of speed limits on Scottish trunk routes.

Roads agency Transport Scotland now plans to reduce the limit between South Ballachulish Roundabout and Fort William.

And a spokeswoman for Bear Scotland, which is responsible for maintaining the trunk road network said: “The speed limit will be changed, but not until 2015.”

Councillor Thomas MacLennan, leader of Highland Council’s Lochaber area committee said: “After a lot of complaints, submissions and representations, at last some action is taking place.

“Hopefully, this reduces the number of deaths and tragic accidents on the A82 south of Fort William.

“Speed is a contributory factor in most of these accidents, as well as weather conditions, but at least something is being done.

“However, an equal and just as pertinent situation needs to be thoroughly investigated and resolved on the A82 to the north between Fort William and Spean Bridge, where there has been a commensurate toll of serious road accidents and tragedy in recent times.”

A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said: “Transport Scotland has been working with Bear Scotland to improve safety on the A82 at Aonachan Crossroads, Spean Bridge, and between Ballachulish and Fort William.

“As part of these considerations an assessment has recently been completed that has recommended a number of improvements which include infilling sections of roadside ditches, improving signage on the bends and resurfacing sections of carriageway.

“These recommendations will now be accommodated within our wider programme of road safety improvements.

“A reduced 50mph speed limit on the A82 between South Ballachulish and Achintore Road at Fort William will also be implemented this financial year as part of the wider programme of reduced speed limits arising from the Speed Limit Review, which was published in late 2012.

“The Speed Limit Review concluded that the existing speed limit on the A82 between Fort William and Spean Bridge is appropriate.”

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