To ensure the safety of the travelling public, The Highland Council will be introducing a temporary weight restriction on the Maid of Glencoul, the smaller of the two vessels, which is currently operating a seven-day service across the Corran Narrows in Lochaber.
The MV Corran which is the larger vessel, is waiting for parts to arrive so repair works can be completed.
Until it is back in operation, as part of contingency plans that focus on safety issues to reduce traffic congestion, it is anticipated that the weight of vehicles using the Maid of Glencoul will be temporarily restricted from Monday 20 March.
At a recent meeting of stakeholders, it was agreed that the most pragmatic, safe, and manageable way to reduce the traffic using the ferry is to temporarily prevent all vehicles over 3.5T in weight (GVW) from using the service.
Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Ken Gowans said:
“For the safety of the travelling public, the volume of traffic using the ferry must be reduced as soon as possible, which is why from Monday 20 March we will be introducing the temporary weight restriction.
“We realise that the demand for the service will be picking up as we move from winter into spring, and it is unfortunate that due to the difficulty in sourcing necessary parts the MV Corran is not available at present.
“We apologise for the inconvenience and the Corran Ferry team and stakeholders are doing all they can to prioritise safety and ensure the continuation of this important service for the public.”
To also increase the safety of ferry users, the Council will be organising mobile advance warning VMS signs on the A82 (one north bound, one south bound), will have marshals at both sides of the crossing to manage queuing traffic and a temporary 30 mph speed limit is planned to be in place on the A861 and on the A82 north and south of the ferry junction.
The restriction will not apply to emergency vehicles or service buses.
The stakeholder group will meet again on 13 March.
It is hoped by then that more information on the timescale for the return of the MV Corran will be known.
However, it is anticipated that on 13 March The Highland Council will confirm the start of the 3.5T weight restriction taking effect from Monday 20 March.