Calls to improve road links to Cairnryan to cope with anticipated Brexit traffic
Campaigners and local politicians are calling for two of the main roads in Dumfries and Galloway to be upgraded to cope with increased traffic that Brexit may bring. The A77 and A75 roads run for more than 100-miles through the region and form two of the most important freight routes between Northern Ireland and the mainland UK. The ports in Carinryan are becoming increasingly important as an international transport hub, but there are many who claim that the roads that run to and from the ferries are not fit for purpose.
Donald McHarrie, from the A77 and A75 Action Group, said: “It’s only after you’re past Dumfries that you start to make any headway, and similarly on the 77 you’re really at Ayr before you reach dual carriageway. “It’s so frustrating and this is where I think the numerous accidents that happen on the road are borne out of driver frustration.” There have been some improvements in recent years – large sections of this high traffic route are still narrow single carriageway that wind along coastal cliffs or through small villages, like Springholm.
Road Safety Campaigner, Chris Wybrew, said: “We’ve got 3.3 million vehicles per annum, going through this bottle neck, but we have the highest proportion of heavy freight vehicles of any comparable road.” The roads are a frustrating part of working life for those whose income is dependant of good infrastructure, like Stranraer based haulier Alan Richmond. He said: “If it were upgraded to either a dual carriageway or a motorway, journey times would be a lot quicker plus the fact it would be more fuel efficient for the vehicles.
“Trucks are restricted to 40mph which causes a lot of frustration with car drivers following you, which makes them take chances and try and overtake you in dangerous bits.” The issues with the roads are longstanding, but the anticipated increase in freight traffic from Cairnryan that will follow the UKs exit from the European Union – has prompted local MSP Emma Harper to raise the issue at both Scottish and UK Government level. She told ITV Border: “It’s time that further investment was made to improve both the roads, these are main arterial routes through the South West of Scotland.”
Scottish Secretary and Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack said agrees with campaigners. He said: “When Cairnryan took over as the port from Stranraer, the first minister Alex Salmond came and said that the Scottish Government thanked Stena-line for their investment and now would upgrade the infrastructure to those ports – and it hasn’t happened. “The road is in a poor state it has been for a long time, but it is the responsibility of the Scottish Government and they should address it.
“I think that Holyrood has ignored the South of Scotland for the last two decades and they need to live up to their promise, not least the one they made when Cairnryan opened.”