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Fri April 03 2020

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Fixed link could replace Scotland’s second-busiest ferry route

19 Feb The Highland Council is considering five options for a bridge or tunnel that could replace Scotland’s second-busiest ferry service.

The Highland Council, Highlands & Islands Transport Partnership (Hitrans) and Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) are jointly funding the study into the crossing of the Corran Narrows in Lochaber, near Fort William. The study follows previous analysis carried out in 2018.

Consultant Stantec is exploring whether it’s feasible to create a fixed link across the Corran Narrows and identify if the business case compares favourably with that of maintaining a ferry service over the next 60 years.

Stantec has identified five potential route corridors for fixed links. Two of these are for a low-level bridge, two for a high-level bridge and one for a tunnel. The current ferry crossing is approximately 500 metres.

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An update on the project has been submitted to Highland Council’s Lochaber area committee for a meeting today (19 February). Councillors are being asked to agree that the final report of the study is submitted to Transport Scotland as soon as possible as part of the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2).

Neil MacRae, partnership manager at Hitrans, said: “This is a timely study that seeks to understand the business case supporting the different options for connecting across the Corran Narrows to best serve the communities of Morvern and, Ardnamurchan and beyond to Mull. The final report will help local partners make the case for investment in this strategic link at a national level."

Martin Johnson, interim director of strategy and regional economy at HIE, said: “In previous decades, the construction of fixed links elsewhere in the Highlands and Islands have provided sustained benefits for communities.  New fixed links can offer the potential to open up remote areas to additional economic opportunities and improve access to jobs for residents.  It is therefore important that these types of infrastructure interventions are duly considered when identifying the most suitable long-term option for the Corran Narrows crossing.”

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