Mr. Russell Johnston
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will start work on the thirty miles of single carriageway still remaining between Fort William and Mallaig.
Dr. Dickson Mabon
We intend to improve the worst sections as far as possible by using minor improvement funds, but I am afraid that comprehensive reconstruction cannot find a place in the road programme before 1970.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is a narrow road which is causing very grave concern and great difficulty and is virtually endangering the whole future of Mallaig? There is also considerable doubt about the future of the railway. Can he assure us that he will bring pressure on the Minister of Transport to ensure that, if the railway goes, it will not go before the road is improved?
I can give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that he wants in the latter part of his supplementary Question, provided that he is willing to accept that, while traffic has increased on this road, it is much heavier on the single carriageway Invergary-Kyle road. This is a matter of priority, as he appreciates, and we naturally want to concentrate our efforts there.