COUNCIL bosses have been urged 


A COUNCILLOR has pleaded with officials to help ensure that the A814 between Garelochhead and Arrochar is not used as an alternative route by HGVs in severe weather.

A report revealed that the A817 Haul Road is one of four routes across Argyll and Bute which will be subject to signage used to inform drivers of any hazardous conditions.

However, Lomond North independent councillor Mark Irvine sought assurance that the A814 would not be used between Garelochhead and Arrochar.

Most of that section of the A814 - along the east shore of Loch Long, between Arrochar and a point just south of the Finnart oil terminal - is a single track road, with some passing place.

Its use as a diversionary route is not authorised or officially advertised - but is nonetheless common, usually when an accident has closed part of the A82 between Tarbet and Arden, as has happened twice this summer.

Signs are already in place on the A814's northbound approach to the Whistlefield roundabout, and in Arrochar, warning that the northernmost section of the A814 is not suitable for HGVs - but reports of large vehicles using the road are a regular occurrence during A82 closures.

The issue has been raised many times in the past by residents and councillors, and came up again at a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s environment, development and infrastructure committee on Thursday, August 31.

In a report, executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “In specific locations additional information and diversion signing will be erected to further inform drivers of the hazardous conditions on some routes, and advise them of alternative routes where available resources will concentrate on maintaining treatments.

There are four roads where signing to indicate specific alternative routes are available.”

One of the routes listed is the A817 Haul Road, between the A82 south of Luss and the A814 at the Whistlefield roundabout north of Garelochhead, which has snow gates at each end.

The diversion indicated is from the A818 at Arden to the A814 at Garelochhead.

Councillor Irvine said: “The significant road traffic accidents in the Luss area have once again raised the issue of the suitability of the A814 up to Arrochar being used as a diversion for HGVs.

“What assurance can we take that signage will be used to minimise HGVs and coaches using the route? Because that road is barely two vehicles wide.

“We have had constant problems, especially this summer with the two accidents. What is the approach to looking at the diversional impact?”

Council head of roads and amenity services Jim Smith responded: “It is a good point and something we have worked with BEAR Scotland and the police about. The A814 is not suitable, and there are signs saying it is not suitable.

“If there are accidents, or wintry conditions, the police would stop HGVs going there, but in reality there have been HGVs taking a quick diversion before anybody can get there.

“The diversion route does not include the A814; it is through to Stirling and then along to rejoin the A82.”

Councillor Irvine then said: “The issue is that with today’s satellite navigation systems, they do not flag things up; they just show a driver a route.

“That route gets busy and hemmed in – it is a recurring theme.”