2018, A Year For Action Not Words Says Dual The A75

A campaign group have said 2018 is the year the Scottish Government and all other relevant authorities must take steps to upgrade the A75 to a dual carriageway.

Dual The A75 have been active since 2016 and want to see the A75 between Gretna and Stranraer fully upgraded to a dual carriageway route.

The group are left concerned and frustrated after a traffic control project in the village of Springholm has been turned off following signs of failure and inaccuracy.

Danny Pool of the campaign said “The traffic lights in Springholm are designed to turn to red when motorists are going above the speed limit. However what we are seeing is motorists going at the correct speed limits and the lights turning red. This is causing major frustration and is also adding on journey time to many motorists who are already fighting against the clock.”
“These lights are a first anywhere in the country and I find it shocking that this is the preferred choice over a bypass. The majority of communities along the A75 have had bypasses built in the past, therefore I cannot understand why the Scottish Government refuses to build bypasses for Springholm and Crocketford.”
“Journey times are slow enough as it is on the bulk of the A75 and we find it unfair that motorists travelling at the speed limit can find themselves punished by motorists in front who are speeding and bringing the A75 traffic to a halt.”
“This results in major queues and tailbacks, increasing the risk of stationary traffic being involved in ‘tail ending’ accidents and adding to driver frustration likely leading to dangerous overtaking.”
“The traffic lights should be seen as a short term solution whilst a dual carriageway bypass is constructed, NOT the long term solution as stated by Scotland TRANSERV, this is unacceptable!”

Dual The A75 have also heard that the company Irish Ferries which operates crossings from Dublin to Holyhead is about to invest 165€ million in a new cruise ferry to serve this route, planned to be sailing before 2020. The ferry is said to be the largest in the world for vehicle capacity, potentially threatening business for the ferries and ports at Cairnryan. The campaign believes that the Cairnryan port could continue to slump if haulage companies and commuters take more attractive route options through the Ireland and England ferry connections.

There has been heavy investment into the Cairnryan ports from Stena Line and P&O however the Scottish Government has failed at delivering the required investment into the road network which serves the Scottish ports. In every other part of the UK and Ireland the roads to the respective ports have been upgraded and are now of a dual carriageway or motorway standard, something which hasn’t happened in the South West of Scotland. The A75 and A77 remain predominately single carriageway routes and the announcement that the Welsh Government is investigating further upgrades to the A55 serving Holyhead port highlight the short-sightedness of their Scottish counterpart’s inaction in upgrading roads to the Lochryan ports, putting them at risk.

With the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary now open, the Dumfries bypass is heavily congested.

“This creates a threat for ambulances using the bypass to transfer patients to the hospital as there is little room for cars to move aside to let ambulances pass, especially when the traffic is heavy. Due to the current bypass’s location and geography surrounding it, upgrading this stretch of road is almost impossible and would not be cost effective.”

Therefore Dual The A75 would like to see the Scottish Government and other authorities re-appraise the possibility of constructing a second Dumfries bypass south of the town of dual carriageway status allowing quicker and improved access to the new hospital site. As many of Dumfries and Galloway’s critical health services will inevitably be based in the new hospital it is also vital that the A75 from there to the rest of the region is brought up to modern dual carriageway standards to allow safe and timely access for patients from further afield in the region.

With various tourism initiatives taking place in Galloway, such as the Dark Sky Park, the bid for national park status and all the individual tourism related businesses, it is also vital that the tourists we are trying to attract gain easy access to the area. The Lake District is often overcrowded and with improved access Galloway can offer a compelling alternative, no longer being bypassed by traffic heading north or south.

Dual The A75 will continue to fight in 2018 for a modern fit for purpose A75 for the 21st Century. They will do this to try to improve the lives, safety and opportunities of the citizens of Dumfries and Galloway. They will continue to work alongside other campaign groups to improve the transport infrastructure of South West Scotland to safeguard the Lochryan Ports and the Scotland/Ireland ferry routes.

“We call on all our representatives of all political parties to stop the meaningless platitudes and points scoring and to stand with us , working together to achieve our goal of a modern, fit transport network for the whole of the South West of Scotland. We will be the neglected corner no longer.”

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