THE A821 Duke’s Pass has been upgraded to a priority 1 gritting route by Stirling Council to help ensure it is safe for use during winter months.

It is hoped the decision will significantly reduce the number of times the A821 is closed due to severe winter weather.

Members of the Environment and Housing Committee today (Thursday 12th September) backed the plans during a review of the Council’s Winter Service Policy.

The A821 was previously treated as a Priority 1, Priority 2 and a Priority 4 route along its length between Aberfoyle and Kilmahog. If the road was closed, drivers faced a 15 mile diversion to Aberfoyle.

The new classification of the A821 (Duke’s Pass) road, between the Achary Hotel and David Marshall Lodge, will ensure treatment can be carried out along the entire length of the A821 from Aberfoyle to Kilmahog, when safe to do so.

Priority 1 routes can receive precautionary treatments between 05.30am and midnight and be treated 24hrs per day in extreme winter weather.

Convenor of the Environment and Housing Committee, Councillor Jim Thomson, said: “We can’t control the weather but Stirling Council is well prepared to respond to it and keep our roads and residents moving as much as possible.

“By upgrading the entire A821 to a priority 1 gritting route will help make this rural road as safe and accessible as possible for drivers.

“There will still be times when closure of the road may be the only option, but today’s decision will reduce the number of closures needed and cut down on lengthy diversions required by commuters.”

Vice Convenor Danny Gibson said, “Stirling Council is responsible for maintaining over a thousand kilometres of road network, and we are working hard to keep all of our major roads and pavements as safe as possible.

“Our Winter Service plan has proven to be robust in the face of previous extreme winter weather, but we are always looking to find ways to improve the service we provide where it is practical and appropriate to do so.”