More than £2 million will be spent on upgrading and improving four narrow rural Perthshire roads which are being used to extract timber.
Perth and Kinross Council has been awarded grant funding of £1,478,000 by the Forestry Commission Scotland following a successful bid to the Commission’s Strategic Timber Transport Fund.
And the grant will be supplemented by £633,819 of local authority funding. This will allow the council to upgrade and improve the suitability of four narrow roads in Perthshire, which are being used to extract timber.
A council spokesperson said: “The roads set for improvement were not made to withstand the volume of traffic now using them to transport timber from local forests. Once complete, the project to improve these roads will minimise disruption to both local communities and the forestry industry.”
Two of the roads set for improvement serve forests across the Loch Rannoch area and two serve the forests in the Ochil Hills between Dunning and Milnathort. These roads are the B846 between Rannoch Station and Tummel Bridge, the B847 from Balmore on the north side of Loch Rannoch to the A9 at Calvine, the U29 between Path of Condie and Dunning and the U214 between Meikle Seggie and Ballingall.
Councillor Ian Campbell, leader of Perth and Kinross Council, said: “As a Highland Perthshrie councillor, I am well aware of the poor condition of roads and the need for urgent repairs and I’m delighted that we have secured this level of funding to improve our residents’ roads.
“The areas that will be affected by these works are popular tourist destinations, providing access to Highland Perthshire and the Ochil Hills respectively. They also serve a number of small, remote rural communities.”
He continued: “The proposed road improvements will deliver significant benefits to the local communities and a range of other road users by increasing the safety of motorists, cyclists, walkers and horse riders, improving traffic flow and helping to minimise disruption and congestion.
“The project aims to create sustainable routes which, at the same time, are sympathetic to their environment.”
Plans for the roads include the construction of 9.1 miles of carriageway and edge strengthening works, 14 embankment supports and the construction of 92 passing places.
The council spokesperson added: “The conditions of the grant funding require the works to be completed by the end of March 2018. This will lead to some disruption to the travelling public including road closures for a short period in the interests of public safety.
“It’s anticipated that works will commence in August 2017 and last through the winter months. Although the road closures are planned to take effect from September 2017 until January 2018, roads will not be closed for these entire periods and access will be maintained to properties together with well sign-posted diversion routes.
“Construction plans are currently being developed to synchronise works in the individual areas with the aim of reducing the periods the closures are in force for.
“The plans will be made available on completion to support discussions aimed at progressing the project with local elected members, local residents, public transport providers and community and business groups.”