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Monday, 30 April, 2001, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Upgrade for 'road to the isles'
Arisaig
The upgraded section will start from Arisaig
The Scottish Executive is spending more than 10m to make the famous long and winding 'road to the isles' two miles shorter.

Transport Minister Sarah Boyack announced on Monday that a contract had been awarded to Barr Construction to upgrade a notorious stretch of single-track route of the A830 between Mallaig and Fort William.

The work, which will be completed by 2003, will replace the existing six mile stretch between Arisaig and Kinsadel with a new four-mile-long road.

The minister said that the route would offer some "spectacular views" and greatly improve safety for drivers and local communities.

Sarah Boyack
Sarah Boyack: "Breathtaking views"
Ms Boyack said: "The new road will greatly improve driving conditions, knock some 3.7 km off the distance between Mallaig and Fort William and provide some breathtaking views for tourists using the new route whilst diverting through traffic away from the communities along the existing road.

"I expect the new road to open to traffic in early 2003. Because the road largely follows a new route, the impact of construction work on those using this difficult section of the A830 will be minimised.

"The construction of the new road is well supported by the Highland Council and the local community.

"After it has been completed, only some 7km of single track trunk road will remain.

Substandard road

"This is on the adjacent length between Arisaig and Loch nan Uamh and I have asked my engineers to look at the preparation of schemes for the improvement of this final section of substandard road."

The upgrade of the A830 section has been welcomed by Patsy Kenton, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokeswoman for Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber.

Ms Kenton said: "I am sure that drivers who use this road will be pleased.

"Road safety must be enhanced, particularly in the winter months when the weather can be treacherous."

The 10.8m upgrade is one of five major schemes announced by Ms Boyack in the 1999 strategic road review.

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See also:

15 Feb 01 | Scotland
Boyack rides out confidence vote
23 Jan 01 | Scotland
Private firms win roads contracts
27 Dec 00 | Scotland
Cash for 'road to rail' switch
20 Dec 00 | Scotland
Green light for road charge bill
07 Oct 00 | Scotland
Councils make roads cash call
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