Letter: Roads need large-scale investment

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At the recent MAKI Area Committee I spoke to George Fiddes, the Transport Scotland area manager, about the terrible state of the trunk roads in Argyll.

I asked how did our trunk roads get this bad, when will they be completely repaired, and what is being done to stop this happening again?

When it comes to our trunk roads, a programme of works is desperately needed, with substantial and sustained investment from central government.

Trunk roads are not just for our growing tourist population but for all of Argyll’s residents, both on the mainland and the islands.

We have a huge up-coming spike in logging tonnage on our roads over the next 10 years along with 72 fully-loaded articulated lorries that leave Islay every month packed with whisky to a value of over a million pounds each.

All of this combined means that now more then ever we need large-scale investment from central government coffers otherwise we will see a worsening repetition of last winter’s problems.

The following day, while attending the environment, development and infrastructure committee, I was delighted to back a motion that noted the significant capital investment in Argyll and Bute roads of £40m over the past six years, in the context of reducing local authority funding.

This level of investment means that the roads network in Argyll and Bute is among the fastest improving in Scotland.

I welcomed the additional capital investment of almost £15m in Argyll and Bute’s roads network agreed unanimously at the council budget in February 2018.

The lead of the council plans to write to the Scottish Government calling for additional investment in Argyll and Bute’s trunk roads network.

I would ask this to include greater recognition of the importance of roads to the economy of Argyll and Bute, and Scotland, with regards to the whisky, renewables, timber, marine and tourism industries.

We must highlight the urgent requirement for funding to address the additional burden on roads budgets caused by severe weather.

For many in the Kintyre and Islands ward and across Argyll and Bute this has been a long time coming and is more than welcome.

I will do all that I can to make sure my ward is no longer sidelined as it has been in the past.

Cllr Alastair Redman,