A82 closure – business as usual for Emergency Services.

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The December weekend closure of the A82 near Corran Ferry point will not impact on the emergency services’ cover of the area.

That was the message in a joint statement from Northern Constabulary, NHS Highland, Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service (HIFRS).

The closure, which will be in effect from 10pm on Friday 9 December to 6am on Monday 12 December, will allow Forestry Commission Scotland to remove a potentially unstable 250 tonne rock from the hillside.

Speaking on behalf of the services, Area Commander, Chief Inspector David Bushell, said:

“We have been working together closely to plan for this event with the assistance of colleagues who are based south of the closure point. Each of the emergency services will be in a position where we will be able to manage emergencies during the closure period as well as maintaining our normal services to the communities in this area.

“I encourage people in the affected area to plan any journeys they would need to make at that time well in advance of the closure.”

The arrangements in place include:

• NHS Highland – GP cover will be provided south of the road closure to deliver Out of Hours primary care to patients in the local area, rather than taking the Fort William GP down to this area via the ferry or asking patients to travel to Fort William via the diversion route.

• Scottish Ambulance Service - resources south of the closure will be used to take any 999 patients to Lorn & Islands Hospital in Oban rather than taking them to Belford Hospital in Fort William.

• HIFRS and Northern Constabulary - resources south of the closure will be used for incidents in that area. Plans are in place to maintain 24-hour police cover throughout the closure and there will be no reduction in the level of service provided by the fire and rescue service. Cross border arrangements are in place for large and exceptional incidents.

As an additional extra measure, Forestry Commission Scotland and Transport Scotland will provide a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) - between Corran Ferry and Fort William Crannog Pier – that will be prioritised for use by the emergency services.

It is anticipated that the RIB will only be needed in the event of a major incident and its use will be coordinated between the services in responding to incidents.

Alan Dickerson, Civil Engineering Central Services, who is managing the project for the Commission, said:

“Too few of us understand or appreciate just how much planning and co-ordination goes into the work that the emergency services do….there is just an expectation that they’ll always be where they’re needed.

“The weekend closure of the A82 will place very particular demands on their resources, but their professionalism in tackling the challenges this presents has resulted in the development of ‘work-around’ solutions that will reassure all local residents that service cover will be maintained.

“We would like to voice our thanks for their assistance and their contribution to getting this job done as smoothly as possible.”

For real time journey planning information visit www.trafficscotland.org

For more information about Forestry Commission Scotland’s current operation to remove the rock – and the longer term programme over the next 3 years - visit www.forestry.gov.uk/A82operations 

You can also follow us at http://twitter.com/A82operations

Up to date information on the closure will be available on the Traffic Scotland Web site http://trafficscotland.org/

Notes to Editors
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate, managing, protecting and enhancing the 660,000 hectare national forest estate in ways that deliver benefits to Scotland’s people, communities, biodiversity and economy. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland

1) Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a’ riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland

2) Airson agallamhan anns a’ Ghàidhlig, cuiribh fios gu Oifigear Leasachaidh Gàidhlig a’ Choimisean, Louise Nicilleathain air 01463 725 038