A Loch Lomond conservation group has voiced concern that upgrades to A82 north Tarbet could damage the natural environment.
James Fraser, Trossachs chair and Friends of Loch Lomond, said he was disappointed by the Trossachs proposals. These include sections of cut rock and others built on viaducts that cross Loch Lomond.
These fears were sparked by the meeting of Helensburgh and District Access Trust members with representatives from the board Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park authority last week. They warned that work would result only in eight years travel pain and very little benefit.
Transport Scotland announced plans to upgrade the strategically vital A82 between Tarbet & Inverarnan for a cost of 150million. This road is currently considered dangerous and narrow as it winds through terrain close to the lochshores and West Highland Railway.
Proposals include large and prominent rock cuts, sections of viaduct structures constructed over the loch, and the removal of extensive areas that protect ancient oak woodlands. These are all part of a proposal to upgrade the route. It is wider and has fewer bends than the A82.
James Fraser, Friends Chair, stated that despite the many engineering and environmental constraints, the current proposals are disappointing.
It is necessary to develop a more ambitious plan that truly embraces this unique area of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. This is in line with the National Park Plan vision that recognizes the importance of protecting Loch Lomond’s outstanding natural and cultural heritage.
Friends believe the current scheme can be greatly improved by the introduction of more ambitious landscaping options, such as green canopy where higher rock cut is planned, the greening area under viaducts, the greater seperation of the planned cycleway with road verges with diversions, tiered structures, and the construction a roundabout and safer crossings within the Tarbet area, where villagers suffer high traffic volumes.
They also believe that recent years have seen significant changes in the world due to the climate crisis and the rise in popularity of Loch Lomond.
A Transport Spokesperson stated: We are committed to upgrading the key strategic route between Tarbet & Inverarnan on the A82.
Throughout the pandemic, the design work for this complex scheme has been ongoing. We have been consulting the public about their experiences using this route as we work towards publishing drafts of orders. The consultation ended on November 19.
We must ensure that any future enhancements are compatible with the outstanding landscape and environment of the area. This includes preserving the beauty of the Trossachs National park and Loch Lomond.