At our hugely well-attended meeting on the 9th October in Colintraive, the CC undertook to take several actions, the most important of which was to write to the Council to ask for urgent action on the repair / rebuild of the bridge at Loch Striven which prevents the B836 being re-opened. The text of the letter is below.
We should also report that the A886 has now been cleared as we requested on the 10th, and we have asked for further signage to highlight the damage to the road surface at Stronardron and just north of Springfield.
We should also thank local volunteers for stepping in on the morning of the 11th to start the clearance work. Their efforts were much appreciated!
Our letter to the council:
Dear Robin and Pippa,
Closure of the A836 – Urgent Action Needed
On behalf of the community of Colintraive and Glendaruel we are writing to highlight the critical importance to our community of the timely reopening of the B836 by means of the repair or replacement of the bridge at Balliemore at the top of Loch Striven. Our Community Council meeting on Monday was the best attended we have ever held and focused very closely on the issues arising as a result of the bridge being condemned and it was agreed that everything possible should be done to draw attention to the issue and seek the Council’s urgent input.
While we congratulate the council and its staff on their impressive and seemingly tireless response to the challenges to our infrastructure since the extraordinary weather event of the 6th/7th October, we want to ensure that this issue of the bridge is not lost or demoted in consideration but given the urgent priority it deserves.
Although a B road, the 836 is a vital link for all of West Cowal and for Bute. Its closure and the diversion via Strachur, means, for our communities and for the rest of West Cowal as well as for Bute, a minimum additional travelling distance of 20 miles for each and every trip – 40 for a return trip. That in itself is not only a major disruption to normal life – for example for picking up children who are at after school activities – it will add further to the social and economic isolation of a large part of rural Argyll. It will also increase costs of travel, mean greater wear and tear (and mileage) on our already over-stretched cars and will increase costs for local business, not least because the route is a Timber Transport Route as well as the main community route for tradespeople going to and from Dunoon to Rothesay and vice versa. The closure will make access to our communities for those delivering services and goods – for example social work or the delivery of food stuffs or on-line orders – much more difficult and costly. It will also mean that our communities are
- beyond the reach of Emergency Health Services within the Golden Hour
- at least 20 critical minutes more distant for Fire and Police Services.
- experiencing more than an additional half-hour on bus journey times for some – and most particularly for school age children getting to and from school
We estimate that given a minimum usage of 200 personal return journeys per day on the route, there will be an astonishing 240,000 extra miles driven each month the bridge remains closed. That figure does not include the costs to companies including delivery vans. The additional carbon added to the atmosphere will be very substantial.
We anticipate that your meeting on Monday will focus on the outstanding issues of repair and clearance facing the council, but it must also, in our view, consider with urgency the process by which the bridge can be either rebuilt or replaced within the shortest possible time scale. We understand there are potential solutions which would include using the old bridge foundations that are still extant or using the track to the farm that exists as a temporary replacement by surfacing it and putting in place a temporary bridge or major covered culvert.
We look forward to an early response and we would be keen to meet with representatives of the Council to discuss this further. We are copying this to the ward councillors who we hope will be active in ensuring rapid progress.
Convener, Colintaive and Glendaruel Community Council