So some oaf has given this the thumbs …

Comment posted Scotland Transerv report on A83 Rest and Be Thankful emergency routes by Robert Wakeham.

So some oaf has given this the thumbs down but has nothing to say on the matter.

Robert Wakeham also commented

  • Robert Allan – I’m not trying to diminish the need for the A82 Action Group – far from it – but I think getting the facts right is vital to ensuring credibility when dealing with the government.
    I’m wary of ‘official’ facts that contradict reality. Perhaps you’re letting the fact that the A82 is a trunk road, and naturally recognised as such by organisations that visitors use to find the ‘right route’, get in the way of the reality that very many users who know the road avoid the stretch north of Tarbet if they possibly can. (It’s the stretch between Tarbet and the foot of Glen Falloch that’s the ‘nightmare’, as you say – not the stretch up the glen, which has been rebuilt all the way to Crianlarich).
    Agreed, for traffic between the Glasgow area and Fort William / Mallaig / Skye it’s not easily avoided, but I’d suggest that much of the traffic to Inverness heads up to Stirling and the A9, an easier route, especially for large vehicles. The same logic influences heavy vehicles headed for the Oban area, the route via Inveraray being easier if slightly longer. And I get the clear impression that a good deal of the rest of the traffic between Glasgow & Oban uses this route.
    I don’t think I’m seriously in error at all in believing that as much – if not more – traffic goes over the Rest than up Loch Lomond north of Tarbet, and the comment from ‘zx135′ seems to support this. If you can’t explain where you got your figure of ‘less than 20%’ from I’ll suspect that you might be over-egging the traffic flow on this stretch of the A82 in your concern that the likely substantial cost of work to ‘fix the Rest’ might prejudice the further improvement of the A82 after the Pulpit Rock scheme and the Crianlarich bypass are completed.
    When & if the whole of the A82 between Tarbet and Glen Falloch is brought up to scratch, the volume of traffic could well increase – but until such time the bits that make the trunk road designation a complete joke will continue to deter people from using it.
  • Robert Allan, you also seem to be confused about the Oban traffic, as to & from Glasgow most of it uses the A83 over the Rest and travels via Inveraray, rather than via Crianlarich, as it’s an easier route albeit a mile longer. . As you still think that your A82 figures are correct, and as you’ve said that the A83 handles less than 20% of the traffic, could you say whose figures they are?
  • Robert Allan – are you sure that more than four fifths of the traffic on the A82 on Loch Lomondside is on the same road north of Tarbet rather than on the A83 over the Rest? I find that difficult to believe.
  • A couple of points that can easily be missed; the A83 over the Rest might be in a ‘sparsely populated area of the country’ but it is by no means a lightly used road – yes it’s busier in midsummer, and no it’s not the M8 – but it carries substantial traffic at all times of year. Also, because it traverses a sparsely populated area, the cost of acquiring land for essential improvements should be minimal, even allowing for legal fees. This often seems to be overlooked in talking of the cost of road improvements in rural areas.
  • It’s good to see such a thorough and unbiased review of the two options, and the preference for the military road is easily understandable. How much the necessary improvements will change its character is quite difficult to imagine, but it’s reassuring (and instructive) that the stone bridges can be refurbished and only the concrete bridge is inadequate.
    Perhaps the best thing about this report is that it should bring home to any reasonably intelligent politician just how difficult – and expensive – the implications of neglecting our lifeline trunk road system are. I wonder how many MSPs will bother to read it?

Recent comments by Robert Wakeham

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    ‘Cleaning out the Augean Stables’ comes to mind.
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    Fine in principle, but I just don’t think that any politician can do proper justice to the electorate if they’re dividing their time between two governments – I don’t think that it’s comparable to someone who splits their time between several business / professional / artistic interests.
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22 Responses to So some oaf has given this the thumbs …

  1. It’s good to see such a thorough and unbiased review of the two options, and the preference for the military road is easily understandable. How much the necessary improvements will change its character is quite difficult to imagine, but it’s reassuring (and instructive) that the stone bridges can be refurbished and only the concrete bridge is inadequate.
    Perhaps the best thing about this report is that it should bring home to any reasonably intelligent politician just how difficult – and expensive – the implications of neglecting our lifeline trunk road system are. I wonder how many MSPs will bother to read it?

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  2. Considering all the concerns expressed on here about the A83, I was surprised that there were not not more comments about the report. The thread on the Rest on a motoring forum I belong to is longer! I thought it was unbiassed and interesting, especially the convoy versus diversion times.

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    • OK – just read through it and agree that it is both useful and thorough. Pretty clear that the Forestry road is a non starter (apologies for the pun!). The Military Road is certainly feasible and much safer. Sounds as if the necessary alterations to the hairpins wouldn’t do too much damage to the nature of the road (and could be artificially “removed” for sporting enthusiasts by the simple expedient of putting cones on the original line of the road. It also sounds as if the improvements can be made with fairly minimal damage to the glen.

      One thing that worried me a bit was the suggestion that the road surface would only be strengthened up to a loading of 6 days a year.

      It would be nice to see some costings but the report does confirm that upgrading the Military Road is the way to go (another involuntary pun!).

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  3. I think Alan Reid would do well to read it. If the London Government, which contain some of his associates, would allow some finance to be released it would assist this difficult and expensive, although neccesary project to be brought to a satisfactory conclusion. He and the Lib-Dems did little or nothing to push for a resolution when they were in power in Edinburgh with the Labour party.

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    • Your reference to the ‘London Government’ does you no credit, as whatever follows in your comment comes with a ready made chip on your shoulder Robert, which (thankfully) more sensible nationalists have recognised as a huge vote loser.

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      • I have no chip on my shoulder, unfortunately the same can not be said about Alan Reid. This problem is not new. It involves land management issues which includes a natural element as far as the terrain is concerned. If Mr Reid would stop making cheap political points and assist in a genuine move to find some resolution to the problem, that is both viable and achievable it would better serve the communities of Argyll and Bute, that he purports to represent.
        The Government in London, of which his party is a part, has cut the capital spending in Scotland by over 30%. That does not assist in trying to find the money to pay for a solution to a problem involving a sparsely populated part of the country, even if the road route is a lifeline.
        Although the traffic levels are considerably higher for 3 months in the summer, the traffic density does not justify the huge amount of money required to give an immediate wonder road solution. The alternative roads proposed are both susceptible to the same slippage effects as the primary route, but lots of money can solve problems.
        It was not missed on me, the nice new railways and stations as well as the cross river cable car, and other new infrastructure evident in London, or the 16 billon pounds and counting, that has been spent on the sports we have all seen on our screens. Good as it is to see our sports stars achieve success there are fundamentals that are far more important than winning gold medals, life goes on.
        Oh what Scotland could have done with the money spend on London by the London based parties in the name of the Olympics, and the lasting level of improvements that has resulted. The money came from every man woman and child in the U.K. in the form of taxation and increased borrowings.
        I am not a narrow minded anything, just a realist that would like to see an even handed spread of what little we have to benefit all of the people in these islands, not just a city that is closer to Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt than it is to Edinburgh.

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        • A couple of points that can easily be missed; the A83 over the Rest might be in a ‘sparsely populated area of the country’ but it is by no means a lightly used road – yes it’s busier in midsummer, and no it’s not the M8 – but it carries substantial traffic at all times of year. Also, because it traverses a sparsely populated area, the cost of acquiring land for essential improvements should be minimal, even allowing for legal fees. This often seems to be overlooked in talking of the cost of road improvements in rural areas.

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          • The road might be busy by Argyll standards, but compared to A82 it handles less than 20% of the traffic inherent on that route. The difficulty is not buying land, the difficulty is that the whole hill side is suspect and an alternative route would need major constructions costing millions of pounds and taking years to build.
            Our fore fathers picked the route because it was the least difficult available. A serious change in the route would involve all sorts of new challenges to the builders.
            Therefore the quickest and possibly the most viable action is to try and stabilise the present route by whatever means are expedient, and the alternate routes wether the forest track or the old military road are at best short term alternatives should future slips block the existing road.
            These slips may also effect the alternate routes. the one positive is, although the most recent slip was substantial estimated at more than 1000 tons is was cleared in 2 days.
            Any restrictions to tourist travel especially with the present poor season, weather, and economic climate, let alone any Olympic effect, is a serious implication, but we need a well thought and engineered solution, not a reactionary ill conceived outcome

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          • Robert Allan – are you sure that more than four fifths of the traffic on the A82 on Loch Lomondside is on the same road north of Tarbet rather than on the A83 over the Rest? I find that difficult to believe.

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          • Lets apply newsroom (aka soapbox) logic:

            The is huge overcapacity on the route, people are spoilt for choice as there are alternatives what is your problem?

            If you really want it fixed give the road to a private company and let them charge what they want in tolls.

            Not happy with that, why not?

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  4. Robert Alan makes a very important point when he makes criticism of the vast sums of money spent on delivering the London Olympic Jamboree. By most accounts some 316 billion was spent on providing the infrastructure for the games and this will as well as having provided tens of thousands of construction jobs in London, will also leave a legacy of new infrastructure courtesy of the UK public purse. But of course when it comes to public infrastructure spending London is no sluggard in getting it’s trough well and truly filled. But of course London is special, it is our capital, it deserves all of the extra spending it gets, it is the seat of a faded imperial power, and like the busted banks, it is too big to fail, even if it means impoverishing all of the little people to pay for it. Yes, the Rest and be Thankful road is important, but not important like london or the banks. But hey, not much sense in moaning, that’s just the way that it is – and the good citizens of Argyll will just have to get on with it.

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  5. The A82 figures are correct. it is the main Glasgow Inverness trunk route. The A9 is the Perth inverness trunk. The A82 carries the majority of the traffic to Oban [Though not the preferred route for most North Argyll residents]including the majority of the 750,000 people a year that use the Oban to Craignure ferry. It is also the main route to Fort William, Mallaig, Loch Ness, Skye, as well as Inverness and the Lewis Ferry from Ullapool

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      • Robert Allan, you also seem to be confused about the Oban traffic, as to & from Glasgow most of it uses the A83 over the Rest and travels via Inveraray, rather than via Crianlarich, as it’s an easier route albeit a mile longer. . As you still think that your A82 figures are correct, and as you’ve said that the A83 handles less than 20% of the traffic, could you say whose figures they are?

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        • Mr Wakeham you are the confused one. The A82 from Tarbet on Loch lomond to the split with the A85 just north of Tyndrum is 5 times busier than the A83 which carries traffic to Cowal including Dunoon Mid Argyll and Kintyre, with some traffic to Oban via the A819 rejoining the A85 west of Dalmally. The A82 route is a designated Trunk route and although Oban bound traffic leaves the A82 North of Tyndrum it is the shortest and recommened route by websites and organisations such as Michelin, AA, and RAC. the difference is in fact 5 miles, but crucially the A819 although an A road is not a trunk route and is maintained by Argyll and Bute Council not TRANSERVE, as many will testify when snow effects the route over Cladich and the ploughs are no where to be seen, especially out of hours.
          The Buses, Coaches, Heavy Goods and tourist traffic heading north to Fort William, Mallaig, Loch Ness, Skye, Inverness Et all, is far more than that headed for the “Rest” , but it is no less important for those who use it and need the route to operate.
          The Oban bound traffic on the A82 is a small portion of the traffic that uses the route, year round not only in the summer. Hence the A82 action groups pushing for its upgrade all the way to Inverness.
          The stretch of the A82 from Tarbet to Crianlarich through Glen Falloch is a nightmare and was due to be upgraded when the part south of Tarbet to the Stoneymolan roundabout at Balloch was upgraded, but they then government ran out of money and the northern end was never started.
          Both routes are crucial to the communities they serve and require to be fit for purpose.
          If money is tight then the priority must be to keep the routes open, but to spend the money required to build a new route will be massive and other priorities would have to be considered.
          You are however seriously in error if you think more traffic [not just Oban bound traffic] use the A83 than traverse the A82 section from Dumbarton to Crianlarich.

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          • Robert Allan – I’m not trying to diminish the need for the A82 Action Group – far from it – but I think getting the facts right is vital to ensuring credibility when dealing with the government.
            I’m wary of ‘official’ facts that contradict reality. Perhaps you’re letting the fact that the A82 is a trunk road, and naturally recognised as such by organisations that visitors use to find the ‘right route’, get in the way of the reality that very many users who know the road avoid the stretch north of Tarbet if they possibly can. (It’s the stretch between Tarbet and the foot of Glen Falloch that’s the ‘nightmare’, as you say – not the stretch up the glen, which has been rebuilt all the way to Crianlarich).
            Agreed, for traffic between the Glasgow area and Fort William / Mallaig / Skye it’s not easily avoided, but I’d suggest that much of the traffic to Inverness heads up to Stirling and the A9, an easier route, especially for large vehicles. The same logic influences heavy vehicles headed for the Oban area, the route via Inveraray being easier if slightly longer. And I get the clear impression that a good deal of the rest of the traffic between Glasgow & Oban uses this route.
            I don’t think I’m seriously in error at all in believing that as much – if not more – traffic goes over the Rest than up Loch Lomond north of Tarbet, and the comment from ‘zx135′ seems to support this. If you can’t explain where you got your figure of ‘less than 20%’ from I’ll suspect that you might be over-egging the traffic flow on this stretch of the A82 in your concern that the likely substantial cost of work to ‘fix the Rest’ might prejudice the further improvement of the A82 after the Pulpit Rock scheme and the Crianlarich bypass are completed.
            When & if the whole of the A82 between Tarbet and Glen Falloch is brought up to scratch, the volume of traffic could well increase – but until such time the bits that make the trunk road designation a complete joke will continue to deter people from using it.

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          • Robert

            Did you even bother to look at the link i provided? your figures are completely flawed

            in fact if you looked at the official figures (in the link) you can clearly see

            The A82 from Tarbet on Loch lomond to the split with the A85 just north of Tyndrum is less busy than the A83 it carries about 10% less traffic than the A83

            if you can provide some official figures to support your comments?

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  6. Very interesting to see that the Forestry Road doesn’t seem to be a viable option. One also wonders, however, about the Old Military Road, as well. While I’m all for conservation and preservation of pristine landscapes and habitats, I’m not worried about the “heritage” aspect in this case – life moves on and those who live now have to have decent access. How come no-one seems to be wanting to consider a gallery or even a tunnel? Costly, yes, but only in the short term.
    One more thing: Does anyone in Oban take the Crianlarich route to/from Glasgow if they can help it? I don’t think so. The RaBT road/A83 may be a little longer, but without the HGVs to/from Ft. William and further north, it is much easier to travel, and a great deal more scenic. Also, at a time of snow and ice, I have had a perfectly clear road very early in the morning, with snow-ploughs and sanders standing by at either end of the pass. In fact, the most irritating thing was the blinding lights at the location of last year’s big landslip!
    Next, what the Scotland TranServ report seems to miss in their study of travel times is the fact that businesses along the way, such as the Cairndow Inn and the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, not to mention businesses in Inveraray etc, lose out massively when the RaBT is closed. Not least owing to high fuel costs, tourists will not loop back to a location but will look elsewhere for similar options.
    Finally, and a bit off-topic, could folk please not write “effect” when they mean “affect”? – see Robert Allan’s “These slips may also effect the alternate routes.” and “as many will testify when snow effects the route over Cladich”.

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  7. Seems as if facts are being ignored when they do not fit a contributor’s opinion.
    It was stated a few years ago that the volume of traffic taking the A83 at Tarbet(Loch Lomond) was the reason for not improving the A82 between Tarbet and Inveranan. No motorist knowing that stretch uses it unless there is a reasonable alternative. That said . it is the best way of reaching Ft William & Skye from Glasgow. The A9 is used for Inverness and Ullapool ; and the A83 for Oban

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