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28/08/13 10:06

Upgrading the A83

Kennacraig to Campbeltown section to become trunk road.

The main road running through the southern Kintyre peninsula is set to become a trunk road in the next year, Alex Salmond announced today.

Once the trunking process is completed, this would see Scottish Ministers assume responsibility for operations and maintenance of the 51km stretch of the A83 between Kennacraig and Campbeltown.

Speaking in Campbeltown, the First Minister said the decision to trunk this section would build on this Government’s £12 million investment to improve the route since 2007, as well as adding to a portfolio of recent transport enhancements for the Kintyre peninsula.

Mr Salmond said the extension to the trunking on the road would provide more effective route management for the A83, with the 106km section between Kennacraig and Tarbet already the responsibility of Transport Scotland.

The First Minister made the announcement as the Scottish Cabinet visited Kintyre for the third of the Scottish Government’s summer cabinet meetings, with events already completed in Shetland and Hawick.

The First Minister said:

“Improving transport connections to all corners of Scotland is vital to ensure local communities and businesses prosper and play their part in sustaining economic growth across the country.

“So far, Transport Scotland has invested nearly £12 million in improvements to the A83. This is in addition to the £3 million package of works which included delivery of a local diversion route at the Rest and Be Thankful, and we are committed to investing a further £4 million this financial year to mitigate the effects of landslips at the location. However, we want to build on that and improve the road network in Kintyre even further. I am therefore delighted to announce that from next year, the 51km section of the A83 between Kennacraig and Campbeltown is set to become a trunk road, with operation and maintenance the responsibility of Transport Scotland.

“With the 106km of road between Kennacraig and Tarbet already trunked, this will allow for more effective and efficient route management for this vital road through Argyll.

“Kintyre is nationally significant within the renewables and tourism sectors, with a local wind generation company employing more than 130 in Machrihanish, and the town also playing host to internationally-renowned golf courses. That is why we need to continue the improvements to the transport infrastructure and make the region more accessible for local businesses and visitors.

“This announcement adds to a raft of recent transport improvements to Kintyre, with a new three-year pilot ferry service between Campbeltown, Arran and Ardrossan – the first new CalMac route in nearly 20 years – as well as a new Sunday air service between Campbeltown and Glasgow which is being piloted this summer and next.

“And the recently built £2 million emergency route through Glen Croe will give local communities further reassurance that Kintyre will stay open for business if we face another unwanted landslide at the Rest and Be Thankful.

“We want to improve existing links and add more connections to and from the Kintyre region to support tourism and the local economy to open up further one of the most beautiful corners of Scotland.”

Commenting on the First Minister’s announcement, Argyll and Bute Council’s Lead Councillor for Development and Infrastructure, Councillor John Semple said: “I’m very pleased at the infrastructure commitments made by the Scottish Government which will help to better connect, not only the most remote mainland community in the UK, but also a community with a great deal to offer in resources important to the Scottish economy. Argyll and Bute can be better connected by air, sea and better by road too.

“We welcome the announcement that the trunking process is now underway. Argyll and Bute Council is due to look at its A83 business case soon, and I am sure we will be looking forward to working with Transport Scotland on this commitment which is great news for Argyll and Bute”

Notes to editors

Transport Scotland has been in discussions with Argyll and Bute Council for a number of months on the detail of the transition of responsibilities. This close engagement will continue through the formal trunking process. Formal transfer of responsibilities is expected by summer 2014. On completion, the maintenance requirements will be undertaken through the relevant Trunk Road Operating Company Contract (BEAR).

The A83 between Campbeltown-Kennacraig is a 51km stretch of single carriageway road which carries approximately 2,000-2,500 vehicles per day and is currently the responsibility of Argyll and Bute Council.

As part of the Final Ferries Plan announcement in December 2012 the Minister for Transport and Veterans stated that transport officials would work with Argyll and Bute Council to consider a case for trunking the A83 from Campbeltown to Kennacraig.

Transport Scotland is the Scottish Government’s national transport agency responsible for; aviation, bus, freight and taxi policy; coordinating the National Transport Strategy for Scotland; ferries, ports and harbours; impartial travel services; liaising with regional transport partnerships, including monitoring of funding; local roads policy; major public transport projects; national concessionary travel schemes; rail and trunk road networks; sustainable transport, road safety and accessibility; the Blue Badge Scheme. Transport Scotland is an Executive agency accountable to Scottish Ministers.

The final summer Scottish Cabinet meeting will be held in Fraserburgh on 1 and 2 September.