Dunragit bypass scheme welcomed

POLITICAL figures across the region have welcomed the news that Dunragit will soon see light at the end of the horizon for their bypass hopes.

SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Dr Aileen McLeod has welcomed news that work on sections of the A75 at Dunragit will begin next spring.

At First Minister’s Questions last week, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the government will begin the next phase in spring 2012.

SNP MSP Dr Aileen McLeod said: “This is fantastic news as this section is hugely important for the whole region and vital for everything that happens in Dumfries and Galloway.

“This upgrade will help the flow of traffic, improve safety on the route and give a boost to the economy.

“The SNP Government has already made significant investment in improving the A75 and A77 in the last four years.

“This latest investment builds on completion of the dual carriageway from Cairntop to Barlae and the A77 between Parkend and Bennane and comes shortly after the First Minister committed the Scottish Government to a task force on the regeneration of Stranraer.

“The A75 is the main strategic link for this region, and I know residents and businesses will welcome the news that work will begin in the spring on the Dunragit by-pass.”

In the same week, Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Alex Fergusson insisted that the Scottish Government should now commit to a bypass for Springholm and Crocketford in light of the £60 billion infrastructure plans that it has announced over the next 15 years. Questioning the Deputy First Minister in Parliament today, Mr Fergusson said:

“When he opened the new Ferry Port in Cairnryan recently, the First Minister was bullish about re-commencing the Dunragit bypass and indeed committed to putting plans for a bypass for Maybole in South Ayrshire in place. It is clear from the infrastructure strategy document that nothing will happen on the Maybole bypass until 2017 at the earliest”.

“I therefore sought a firm commitment that the Dunragit bypass would recommence at the earliest possible opportunity and asked the Deputy First Minister to commit to bypassing Springholm and Crocketford within the lifetime of the infrastructure plan. Given that these three communities are the only communities without a bypass on the entire Trans European Network System between the south of Spain and Loch Ryan, and that there is precious little to cheer about in the Scottish Government’s projected plans for infrastructure improvements in the South West of Scotland, I am bitterly disappointed that the Deputy First Minister made no mention of Springholm or Crocketford in her response to me”.

“While I welcome the apparent commitment to begin the Dunragit bypass in the very near future, any delay in finally addressing the situation in Springholm and Crocketford can only be described as an abject failure on behalf of the Scottish Government to right this long running wrong. I will continue to press the Government on this issue – as far as roads are concerned, its transport infrastructure projections focus a great deal on every part of Scotland except the South West. That is simply not good enough from a Government that purports to treat all parts of Scotland equally. The Deputy First Minister’s response to my question clearly indicates that it does not.”