Arkless Achieves Clarity Over A77 Improvements With Transerv And Transport Scotland

Local MP Richard Arkless has met with bosses from TranServ and Transport Scotland, on site near the landslip on the A77 north of Cairnryan, to discuss with them the issues affecting the road and a proposed timeline for the repair work.

The A77 is a major trunk road used daily by over 3,000 motorists and carries a large amount of Cairnryan ferry traffic to and from the central belt.  The residents of Stranraer and the surrounding villages rely on it heavily.
The lower stretches north of Cairnryan has been plagued with problems since a major landslip in November 2014. Since then the road has been closed regularly in both directions and one lane has remained permanently closed on the lower stretches.
Unfortunately, when the A77 is closed in its entirety there is no straightforward detour – so traffic wishing to travel from the Stranraer area to Girven or Ayr or anywhere in the central belt is diverted to a 56 mile route via the A713 and the A75.

Mr Arkless has been working to try to accelerate work on the A77 for some time and has said the this meeting has “finally provided some clarity and much needed time scales for improvement work to begin.


Commenting, Mr Arkless said:

“I wanted to get a much clearer picture of what is actually going on so I could relay that to the local community, these delays infuriate everyone, including me.’ 
“It is important to remember that both lanes are only ever closed for two reasons – (1) there are either resurfacing works south of Girvan – or – (2) there has been a landslip on the hill side section of the lower stretches.
“I’ve often been asked – why do they close the whole road when they could resurface one lane at a time?  The answer is relatively clear when you stand in the empty lane –  there must be adequate space for the machinery and workers to to do their work safely. So, when there are only two lanes on the section being resurfaced anywhere south of Girvan  – both lanes have to close and we have that awful detour to contend with. Having been on site and almost been blown over by artics when I stood in the closed lane – I agree it would not be safe to close and resurface one lane at a time in these instances. There is simply no way round this if we want resurfacing works to improve the road.’

He continued:

“The only other time it closes entirely is when there is a landslip from the north bound carriage side hill – when that happens the whole road needs to be shut to clear the debris. Again, I think this is reasonable as long as the closure is swift and only required to clear the debris. The result for us however is that detour again.
“I discovered at the meeting that the entire road has never been closed as a result of the large landslip on the shore side of the north bound carriage. We see lights there permanently, but never any work taking place, which annoys everyone.
“That lane is permanently closed for 100 meters for a very good reason – because it is simply not safe to drive on. The lights are there to keep traffic off the unstable lane – in the circumstances there is no choice but to do this. This if the section which needs fixed and you can see the problem with the help of the graphic.
“Following my meeting with TranServ and Transport Scotland, I have been informed that the lengthly investigatory work required to assess the situation on the A77 is nearing a conclusion.  
“Information from the ground investigation work is being used by the design team at Transport Scotland to establish the scale and nature of the required improvement works, the associated delivery programme, and cost estimate.   Based on the current projections, they are hopeful that construction work will begin in autumn 2017.  Transport Scotland have made it clear to me that that the A77 is a priority for them and that work to fix this stretch of road has been accelerated following the Transport Summit which was held last September.”   


He added:

“I am assured that once there is greater certainty of exactly what work will be required, Transport Scotland will undertake a comprehensive programme of community engagement to ensure stakeholders and members of the public are kept fully updated on all progress.=
“In the meantime, I have suggested that the people of Stranraer should be consulted about when they would prefer road works to take place.  At the moment it tends to be at weekends as that suits the ferry operators at Cairnryan.  It doesn’t however suit the wider community who have told me they would prefer the work to take place at night. The people of Stranraer use the road more at the weekends and their views should be taken into account when planning closures. Transport Scotland seemed surprised when I said weekends didn’t suit the people – they have promised to widen their considerations.
“I will continue to raise this issue with Transport Scotland and keep constituents fully informed of any further developments and do everything I can to get the transport infrastructure we deserve in the South West.”


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