A new attempt is being made to secure public funding to explore the options for bridges and tunnels from the Cowal Peninsula.
The Cowal Fixed Link Working Group has asked for £3,000 each from Argyll and Bute Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Transport Scotland.
Last year a request to fund a feasibility study was ‘kicked into the long grass’ by councillors, but the group has pressed on and met transport minister Humza Yousaf, with local MSP Mike Russell, at Holyrood earlier this year.
And now the group is proposing that it becomes formally constituted, on the lines of the Border Railways campaign, and wants to appoint Strathclyde University’s Fraser of Allander Institute as advisers.
Joining Mr Yuosaf and Mr Russell at the Holyrood meeting were David Park of the Borders Railway, the council’s executive director of development and infrastructure Pippa Milne, Jennifer Nicoll of HIE, two Transport Scotland officials, Mr Russell’s assistant Heather Wolfe and David McKenzie of the Cowal Fixed Link Working Group.
Some of the proposed routes for bridges or tunnels would see railway lines or roads crossing the Rosneath Peninsula and Helensburgh areas, but these areas were not represented at the meeting.
The council’s policy and resources committee is being asked to consider the funding request on Friday, with a carefully worded report by Ms MIlne not making a recommendation but saying that a feasibility study would cost around £50,000.
“The options are ambitious and would require significant on shore infrastructure, in addition to the bridge or tunnel, in many cases,” says the report.
“In some cases it is hard to see how they could be implemented without a major impact on local communities and individual property owners.”
For pictures of all the potential routes initially proposed by the group, see this earlier story.