A PUBLIC meeting is to be held to discuss solutions for the Stromeferry by-pass in Wester Ross where a four month closure because of a landslip totted up a near £3 million bill.
The proposals for the A890 by-pass will be outlined at a public exhibition at Lochcarron Village Hall on Monday June 25 between 3pm and 6pm. That will be followed by a public meeting at 7pm.
The Highland Council promised to return to the community before the summer recess to discuss long-term proposals for the road for which it has responsibility.
The route which links Lochcarron with Plockton and Kyle was shut for four months at the start of this year as the result of rockfalls. Major works had to be carried out to make safe the rockface at a point 100 yards west of the avalanche shelter.
The overall cost of dealing with the recent rock fall, including the ferries and additional train services, is estimated at £2.8 million.
The main proposals involve:
* The bridging of the narrows between Lochcarron and Stromeferry – at points near the existing slipways;
* A by-pass through the Attadale Estate;
* A number of options for an upgrading of the existing route, including construction of a 2km tunnel.
Initial cost estimates range between £23 million - £115 million though these may change as options are worked up in more detail.
Councillor Graham Philips, chairman of the Transport Environmental and Community Services committee, who will chair the public meeting, said: "We are honouring our commitment to discuss with the local community the long-term plans for the upgrade of this important route.
"We appreciate fully the inconvenience the local communities have suffered as a result of past and more recent prolonged periods of closure caused by rockfall. We will welcome the views of the public on the options we will be displaying at the exhibition and others that we may have overlooked.
"This will be the first of a number of consultations with the public as we take the project through its various stages of design development."
Following the road closure on 22 December, last year, the council commissioned a car ferry and a passenger ferry to maintain links between Lochcarron and Stromeferry. An early morning train service between Strathcarron and Kyle was organised by the rail company to take pupils from Applecross, Kishorn and Lochcarron to Plockton High School in time for the start of the school day.
These were withdrawn when traffic was diverted on to the railway line on March 26. The road was fully reopened on April 23.