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£5bn benefit of road dualling

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By Fiona Reid
Front
£5bn benefit of road dualling

DUALLING the region’s A77/A75 trunk roads would bring £5bn of “positive benefits” to the UK economy, according to a new report.

Those would range from reduced journey times and vehicle operating costs (£700 million), to combined CO2e savings of around £95 million.

The Strategic and Economic Impacts Report was commissioned by Dumfries and Galloway, South Ayrshire and Mid and East Antrim Councils and undertaken by independent transport consultancy Sweco.

It looks at seven options – including bypassing key towns and rail improvements, as well as full dualling.

The report notes that the roads – which run from Ayr to Stranraer, and from Stranraer to Gretna – are mainly single carriageway, with HGVs restricted to a 40mph speed limit, often causing heavy tailbacks.

It highlights frequent congestion in towns and villages on the route and landslides on southern stretches of the A77. The two roads both form part of what the Union Connectivity Review terms the North Channel Corridor, citing them as “critical for connectivity for passengers and freight between England, Scotland and Northern Ireland”. That review recommended the UK Government offer the Scottish Government funding to upgrade the A75, and encouraged the Scottish Government to improve the A77.

And now the three councils are calling for urgent action from both governments to transform “these vital conduits for communities and commerce”.

Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Cllr Gail Macgregor, yesterday said: “In our newly launched five-year Council Plan we talk about Dumfries and Galloway as a strategic location with a transport corridor linking England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“Upgrading the A75 and A77 – these vital conduits for communities and commerce – would unlock this transport corridor and with it the potential of south west Scotland.

“What we want is recognition from the Scottish and UK Government of the key role transport and travel has on improving our communities and economy. Recognition at government level that there is a need to invest in the A75 and A77 routes; and recognition of the importance of our ports.

“When recognition goes past promises to real investment, that’s when we’ll be working towards a new future for our region.”

Rail improvements are also considered in the report, including dedicated freight facilities at Barrhill, Cairnryan port and Ayr. It’s estimated that purely diesel trains running from Stranraer to Birmingham could save over 20-million-kilograms of CO2e per year compared to moving the equivalent load by HGV.

  • To read the report in full, go to www.dumgal.gov.uk/A75-A77

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