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Caithness News Bulletins March 2003
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STUDY AIMS TO UPGRADE LIFELINE SINGLE TRACK ROAD NETWORK
Independent consultants are to be appointed soon to objectively examine the single track network in the Highlands, Argyll and Western Isles with a view to making an economic case for upgrading and improving these routes over the next 20 years.
The work is being commissioned by HITRANS, the strategic transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, who want to remove the inequality which exists on accessibility to the more rural areas of the Highlands and Islands and promote a programme of investment.
The approach will target a two-tier improvement strategy with:
· a first level strategic single track roads being upgraded to two track standard;
· a second level local single track roads being improved to remove vehicle restrictions and accident hazards.
A report, considered by The Highland Council’s TEC Services Committee, who supported the initiative, stated: “Many of the single track roads throughout the Highlands and Islands are of poor construction being built on peat with a tortuous alignment which has not changed since the drove roads of the 18th century. For a number of years now various unsuccessful approaches have been made to the Scottish Executive for the introduction of a programme of road improvements, similar to the former Crofter Counties Programme which provided 100% grant aid for single track road upgrading.”
The study will examine: sustainability of communities; social inclusion; population catchment; road capacity; journey times and vehicle travel costs; route restrictions, and accessibility; accidents and route safety.