Jamie McGrigor MSP, wrote to Transport Minister, Keith Brown on Monday 27th August, putting some key and direct questions exploring what appears to be Transport Scotland’s conscious decision to divert allocated funds away from a known danger spot.
The Transport Minister’s Stakeholder Meeting on the A83 took place on 22nd August. A young woman of seventeen was involved in an accident at this spot on 20th August and died on 21st August, the day before the Stakeholder’s meeting where the issue of The Erinnes was raised – a brutally ironic juxtaposition of events.
Jamie McGrigor’s letter says:
‘I expect you are aware of the sad news of another fatality recently on the A83 at Erines, the pinch point between Tarbert and Ardrishaig. As you will know, this is a very narrow piece of road where there have been many accidents and there have been continuous calls, including from myself, for widening this section. I am reliably informed that six years ago the Scottish government put aside money for the purpose of widening the A83 in this area.
‘My question therefore is what has happened to the funds put aside for this and why has the widening improvement not taken place.
‘Obviously the problems with the A83 at the Rest & Be Thankful continue to blight the lives of people in Argyll & Bute and I would be obliged of an update concerning the study currently underway and what the government’s response is to the petition recently raised by Argyll councillors and submitted to the Public Petitions Committee. I know there is an appraisal of the demands of this petition but am told the retrunking of the road between Kennacraig and Campbeltown has been left off the agenda. I would be obliged for your comments on this as well.
‘I thank you for your time in this matter and look forward to your reply.’
Jamie McGrigor clearly has substantial information behind the questions he is asking. He is saying that funds had been allocated to the improvement of this section of the A83 six years ago.
This means that the questions go not only to Transport Scotland but to the current Scottish Government, then in power in its first administration. Transport Minister at that time was Stewart Stevenson, hardly a success in the role and now it looks as if he has deaths at his door.
Ministers cannot walk away from this sort of direct responsibility.
Where a decision is taken on the basis of known need to make a section of road safer and that decision is deliberately overturned, the consequences may legitimately be laid with the source of the removal of the allocated funds.
It will be very interesting to know where the funds went.
Argyll first Councillor Dougie Philand has also written to the Transport Minister, referring to and reinforcing the question on why the planned and funded work on The Erinnes was not done six years ago and what was done with the money.
Councillor Philand also informs the Minister of the death last week of the young man at The Erinnes.
Local MSP, Michael Russell has also written to Keith Brown and has told Councillor Philand that: ‘I hope Transport Scotland will now move on the pinch point and crossing issues without waiting for the full study.’