A Loch Lomond conservation group has added its voice to concerns that improvements to the A82 north of Tarbet will damage the natural environment.
Friends of Loch Lomond and the chair of the Trossachs, James Fraser, said he was disappointed with the proposals – which include sections of hewn rock and others built over viaducts across Loch Lomond.
The fears arise after members of the Helensburgh and District Access Trust met with representatives of the Loch Lomond Board of Trustees and the Trossachs National Park Authority last week, warning that the work would result in ‘eight years of grueling travel for very few of gain â.
Transport Scotland recently unveiled plans for a Â£ 150million upgrade to the strategically important A82 between Tarbet and Inverarnan, which is currently considered narrow and dangerous as it winds through difficult terrain near lochshore and the West Highland Railway.
The proposals include a series of wide and highly visible rock cuts, long sections of viaduct structures built over the loch and the removal of large areas of protected old oak forest to develop an improved road that is very close to the A82 existing but wider with fewer turns.
Friends President James Fraser said: âWe are disappointed that the current proposals fall far short of what is required in this sensitive national park setting, despite the considerable technical and environmental constraints that exist.
âA more ambitious program that truly encompasses the unique setting of the road in this part of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is needed, which is more in line with the vision set out in the national park plan which recognizes the importance of protect the international community. renowned landscape of Loch Lomond for people to appreciate and appreciate the outstanding natural and cultural heritage. ‘
Friends believe the current scheme could be significantly improved with the introduction of more ambitious landscaping solutions, such as green canopies where higher rock cuts are planned, greening of areas under viaducts, greater separation of the planned cycle path of the road shoulders with detours. and stepped structures and the construction of a roundabout and safer passageways in the Tarbet area where villagers suffer from heavy traffic.
They also argue that circumstances have changed dramatically in recent years due to the climate emergency and the rise in popularity of Loch Lomond.
A Transport spokesperson said: âWe remain committed to modernizing this key strategic road along the A82 between Tarbet and Inverarnan.
âDesign work for this challenging program continued throughout the pandemic and we recently consulted the public about their experiences using this route as we work to release draft orders. The consultation ended on November 19.
âWe need to ensure that any future upgrades fit into the region’s exceptional landscape and environment and preserve the renowned beauty of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, while also working to ensure that we minimize damage. disturbances during construction. “