If you know me, you may have be aware of my simmering rage over the A82 from Tarbet to Inverarnan past Loch Lomond, the so-called A road that defies description. This week the rage is boiling over.
On Sunday, coming back from Oban on a busy Sunday afternoon, someone had decided to send a massive flatbed long-load vehicle plus escort down this stretch of road. Result: Total traffic standstill, we lost more than a hour. That road cannot cope with that kind of traffic full stop, and certainly not on a Sunday afternoon in August
Today, coming back from Lochaber, this stretch of road was awash, in one place for about 200 metres, and I lost count of the floods. Ah, you may say, but the rain was torrential. Ah, I say, this is the Scottish west Highlands. No stranger to torrential. The road’s drains just could not cope, water was foaming white over the carriageway.
There is currently a set of “temporary” traffic lights where yet again part of the road has decided that it prefers being in Loch Lomond to carrying traffic. Don’t expect them to be gone for another 37 years.The road is in places pitted and pocked, breaking apart with grinding traffic, rain and frost. Even first thing this morning when the weather was dry and the burns didn’t seem to be high, there was water flowing across the road.
Long stretches are hemmed in by stone walls which regularly shed rocks into the carriageway and which push nervous driveways into the centre of the road. Tight bends, potholes … it’s unbelieveable.
This stretch of road is without a doubt the worst A road I have ever been on. It is dangerous, although not the most dangerous, but combining that with its sheer uselessness as a trunk road – 40mph is a good average on this stretch – it must be the worst A road in Britain.
Yet thousands of tourists and locals are expected to use it – while over a billion pounds has been spent on a second Forth road crossing that wasn’t even needed once they fixed the old one.
Sleek self-satisfied Edinburgh-based politicians don’t care, I am told, because there’s only 80,000 votes at the end of it. Well the politicians – and especially those that represent Oban and Fort William and the other places for which this road is a lifeline – should pull their bloody fingers out and see what a massive problem this is, not just for foreign tourists and those few locals, but for the hundreds of thousands of people from the West of Scotland who like myself use that road regularly, for business and pleasure, and risk our lives and waste our time on a road that is not fit for purpose.