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Highland Life / News / Highland Council News / Official Opening of Wester Ross Road

Official Opening of Wester Ross Road

Issued: 16 Mar 2007

To celebrate the completion of the third and final stage of a £10 million project of improvements on the A832 Achnasheen to Kinlochewe road, pupils who had attended the official turf cutting ceremony in 2002 were invited back to take part in the official opening ceremony held earlier today (Friday 16 March).

Lily Hardy-Thompson (primary 2) and Kieran Morrison (primary 7) helped Highland Councillors Roy Macintyre and Ewen Mackinnon cut a ribbon to open the new 4.2km two lane carriageway which now completes the 14.4km stretch of road between Achansheen and Kinlochewe.

The project, which has been constructed in three phases, was successful in attracting 25% of funding from the European Regional Development Fund. Construction work began in October 2002 and pupils from Achnasheen and Kinlochewe primary schools came along to help with the turf cutting ceremony. The children then returned to perform the ceremony for the completion of Phase 1 in June 2004 and the completion of Phase 2 in December 2005.

The children have followed the road improvements which have seen the whole section improved from a tortuous single track road to two lanes built to a modern standard which recognises and adapts to the changing nature and character of the surrounding rural Highland countryside.

Due to the terrain and the environmental sensitivity of the area, many construction challenges have been overcome, with the design and construction being dictated by the environment. Salmon, deer, otters, badgers, peregrine falcons and nesting birds have all been accommodated along with the local sheep population. Designed by the Project Design Unit of The Highland Council, recognition must also go to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage who have helped throughout all stages of the project.

Councillor Ewen MacKinnon, Area Chairman of TEC services said: "The whole project has been a great success and the road has been built to a very high standard on time and on budget. Today we can see the final result of a project which began five long years ago. It is a lasting credit to everyone involved and I would like to sincerely thank them for all their hard work and dedication. When faced with the challenging nature of the environment involved in the construction of the new road the contractor and our own design team worked very closely together and made sure the scenic beauty of the route was not lost. I would also like to thank the financial support we received from Europe, without which the whole new route would not have been possible."

Previously the Achnasheen to Kinlochewe route was a single lane, 3m wide road with passing places. Both the horizontal and vertical alignments were sub-standard with tight bends and frequent blind summits which resulted in a high level of accidents and long journey times, especially during the busy tourist seasons.

Gairloch Councillor Roy Macintyre said: "This route is a vital link between the East and West coast. For many years drivers faced long journey times on what was a very scenic but dangerous stretch of road. I am sure the new road will encourage more visitors to make the journey to Wester Ross and that it will bring economic benefits to the whole area."

Highland Quality Construction, who won the contract for all three phases have been formally congratulated by Gairloch Community Council for the quality of their workmanship and lack of disruption to traffic.

Dennis Kearney, a Director of HQC said: "It has been a pleasure to have been involved in the three phases, we will miss the people and the area".

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme