Highlands & Islands

Call for urgent action on troubled Stromeferry bypass

Landslide on A890. Pic: Highland Council
Image caption Landslides have caused disruption over the last two years

People who use the Stromeferry bypass have said a solution to the road's repeated problems with landslides needs to be addressed urgently.

More than 100 people attended a public meeting on Saturday when Highland Council set out several options.

They included a tunnel, a bridge or for road traffic to use a nearby railway when trains were not using it.

The bypass on the A890 in Wester Ross has been closed by large landslides in the last two years.

The A890 helps to connect Lochcarron to Plockton, with its high school, and also to Kyle.

The road links up from the A896, the main road through Lochcarron, and runs down the side of Loch Carron.

Pleasure cruiser

When the bypass is closed, drivers face having to take a 140-mile (225km) diversion, instead of the usual 18 miles (29km) from Lochcarron to Plockton.

It was shut for three days in December last year when almost 20 tonnes of debris came down.

In December 2011, the bypass was shut by a landslip which involved 100 tonnes of rock.

This left it blocked for four months and sparked a Highland Council investigation into how to prevent further disruption.

A small car ferry, a pleasure cruiser and train services were all utilised in an effort to ease the travel headache for locals.

Rubber mats were also later laid on a railway running alongside the bypass so road traffic could use the track.

A bridge

Highland Council is not expected to make a decision on a preferred permanent solution until next summer.

Those attending Saturday's meeting said the project must have greater urgency.

Biz Campbell, Highland councillor for Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh, said the bypass served communities in Lochcarron, Kishorn, Shieldaig, Applecross and also Skye and Lochalsh.

Local resident Alex Ingram said the road gave many of those in the mainland areas access to hospitals on Skye.

Plockton High School's rector Duncan Ferguson said the bypass should be a priority for the council.

He told BBC Alba: "I get the impression that the local preferred solution is a bridge at the narrows at Strome, but we must have a resolution very soon."

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