Road safety campaigners say an upgrade at a deadly Perthshire road worth more than £1m is “the only option.”
The A912 between Bridge of Earn and Aberargie is set to undergo a £1.6m upgrade to install an adjacent footpath and cycleway this spring.
Set to hug the northern edge of the Baiglie Straight, a new passageway was proposed shortly after Perthshire Rugby captain and local schoolteacher Adam Pattinson was killed in a collision while cycling along the stretch to work.
However, the installation has met some opposition from Earn Community Council.
Chairman John Bruce has flagged concerns that the path, set to hug the northern side of the road, would be build on top of water and electricity lines and that the wind would carry spray from the road onto to the path, which when combined with hedge clippings, would eventually rot it.
Mr Bruce also voiced concerns about the cost of the path which he says would be better suited to the other side of the road.
“It’s costing £1.6m for a path that’s about 1.6 miles – are they paving it with ten pence pieces?
“I am worried that this will result in the narrowing of the road and I have contacted all of the local hauliers. Thousands of vehicles pass this road everyday and it’s the main link to the motorway.
“Because of what’s below it and beside it, there will be a lot of days where the path is unusable.”
Mr Bruce is also concerned by the consultation process, however Katherine Melville of Bycycle Perth and Kinross Cycle Campaign and Roger Humphry, who co-convenes Perth Area Living Streets, say this is the best option.
Mr Humphry said: “The only reason why this active travel route shouldn’t be built would be if there were better options. This option isn’t just the best option available – land ownership and future maintenance mean this is the only option.”
Administration councillors say they are right behind Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust’s (PKCT) plans.
Almond and Earn councillor David Illingworth, a council ambassador for sustainable travel, said: “This will be a much-needed improvement to this road given the safety record on this road.
“It is clear that we all have to make lifestyle changes to reduce CO2 emissions and to do that we have to invest in making it easier for people to walk and cycle.”
Angus Forbes, convenor for environment and infrastructure, added: “This project completely fits in with the council’s strategy for improving infrastructure for active travel and all the health benefits that derive from getting people active.”