Stromeferry Bypass (A890)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 15th November 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gail Ross Gail Ross Scottish National Party

3. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its involvement with the Highland Council regarding the Stromeferry bypass in Wester Ross. (S5O-02561)

Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

The A890 at Stromeferry is a local road and is the responsibility of Highland Council. Transport Scotland has provided technical advice to council officials and their consultants on the transport appraisal process since 2013, and I can confirm that it is in receipt of the final appraisal report.

The report reflects the substantial amount of work that was undertaken as part of the appraisal process, and a response will be provided in the near future. As roads authority for the A890 at Stromeferry, the final responsibility for the decision to upgrade or improve the route ultimately lies with Highland Council.

Photo of Gail Ross Gail Ross Scottish National Party

Given that the report into the condition of the rock face is now in the public domain, will the Scottish Government agree to work with Highland Council and Network Rail on a sustainable and economically viable solution for this lifeline route?

Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

I recognise the importance of the route to communities across Ms Ross’s constituency.

Highland Council recently provided the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, with a copy of the report prepared by the consultants, AECOM. Officials at Transport Scotland are reviewing the report, along with the transport appraisal prepared by the council, which includes the options that have been identified therein. They will continue to provide technical assistance as necessary to identify the correct solutions.

They have also worked closely with the Highland Council and Network Rail to identify a temporary solution in terms of the crossing on the railway. As I said earlier, the final responsibility for a decision to upgrade or improve the A890 at Stromeferry ultimately lies with the Highland Council as the roads authority for the route. However, I give a commitment to Gail Ross that we will continue to work closely with the council.

Photo of Edward Mountain Edward Mountain Conservative

In the past, blasting has been used to remove the overhanging rocks at Stromeferry, which has weakened four specific areas. A permanent solution to that will cost £5 million. Will the minister offer to help the Highland Council fund that £5 million to sort out the four overhangs until Transport Scotland responds to the report that was submitted over a year ago?

Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

The member will appreciate that I cannot give any commitments on funding today. The cabinet secretary is not here, but I will certainly relay the member’s question to him. I recognise the importance of trying to provide as much relief as possible to local users of the infrastructure in the meantime, while a longer-term solution is found. As I said to Gail Ross, we are committed to providing as much technical support as possible to the council and indeed Network Rail to identify a solution. Discussions around funding will have to take place, but that is a matter for the cabinet secretary.