Highland Council has said that it has approved £2.185M for further remedial rock stabilisation work on the A890 Stromeferry bypass but has also agreed to form a task force to consider a long term solution for the rockfall risk road.
The council’s annual inspection of the slope last year identified four very high risk rock slope areas and the new funding will allow two of these to undergo similar work to that completed late last year on another section of the bypass.
The council has said that the other very high risk areas are on separate slopes where specialist fencing measures will be needed.
In a meeting earlier this week, members of the Highland Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee agreed extra funding will come from the capital budget with £1.9M allocated in 2019/20 and £800,000 in 2020/21. The current allocation in 2020/21 is £515,000.
Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee chair Allan Henderson said: “The council continues to seek a long term solution for the A890 at Stromeferry and work to assess alternative routes and come up with a preferred option is underway but as a priority we need to take action to make safe the four very high risk slopes which the annual inspection has identified.
“The council’s infrastructure design team have given very detailed consideration to these works, the methods of construction and the associated traffic management so I am pleased that now the funds have been secured they will be able to move forward.”
The proposal is to undertake stabilisation to two slopes in autumn 2019 and at the same time undertake the ground investigation works required to design the upslope catch fencing with this work to be scheduled for 2020/21.
Henderson added: “Remedial works to the rock face are a sticking plaster with the long term solution being recognised by all of us as the ultimate goal. This is why I’m pleased that as well as the extra funding for works the committee approved the setting up of the new options selection group. This group will consider the work that has been done in identifying and assessing the alternative route options and all the related issues. It will also continue the work with partners with the aim of securing funding for a long term solution.”
The four local ward members – Biz Campbell, Ian Cockburn, Alexander MacIness and Derek MacLeod – will be joined on the members working group by the chair and vice chairs of the Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, and the chair and vice chair of Corporate Resources.
Campbell said: “I am pleased that the committee have allocated this additional funding as this is a lifeline route for the local communities and we need to make sure we do all we can to keep the road open. My role as a member of the new options selection group will be to make sure that a long-term solution for Stromeferry remains a top priority. I will also be looking for assurances that the stabilisation works taking place this year are carried out after our main busy summer tourism season and mitigation measures are put in place to keep any disruption to a minimum.”
landslide invergarry 2
The Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee also approved £925,000 of funding for stabilisation work at Kinloch Hourn where a landslide by Loch Quoich Dam last November temporarily knocked out power supplies to the Western Isles and the Isle of Skye and blocked road access to Kinloch Hourn.