THE long-awaited Dunragit bypass was finally given the go-ahead this week with the Scottish government making a firm commitment to start the work on the A75 Euroroute from Stranraer to Gretna within the next financial year.
The multi-million-pound project, which has been delayed since 2009, will be finished by 2015 and will cut out Challoch railway bridge, the most accident-prone bridge in Britain.
Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson welcomed the announcement, made during the Finance Secretary’s Budget statement on Wednesday.
Mr Fergusson said: “At long last we have a cast-iron commitment to build the Dunragit bypass. This will come as a huge relief to members of the Dunragit community, some of whom have been awaiting its implementation for more than 20 years. I give credit to the Scottish government for finally committing to the project, despite the fact that it was that same government which cancelled it only two years ago. It also has to be said that this announcement could not have been made had it not been for additional funding made available by the UK government to the Scottish government through the Barnett formula.
“That said, users of the A75 and, indeed, residents of Dunragit will not be one bit bothered where the funding comes from, and I join them in wholeheartedly welcoming the long-awaited announcement of a completion date for this badly needed bypass, which politicians of all parties and parliaments have lobbied for over several decades.”
But Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown said that, given the delays the project has already seen, “local people will remain sceptical until work actually starts”.
Mr Brown added: “The Scottish government has ignored the Dunragit bypass project since 2009 and I welcome that iy seems to have finally taken it off the back burner and given us a completion date, even if it is still three years away. However, given the SNP’s track record of delay after delay when it comes to transport projects in our region, local people will remain sceptical until work starts.”
Iain Paterson, vice-chairman of Old Luce Community Coun- cil heard the news yesterday on the radio. He has been very involved in the many negotiations down the years as the proposed bypass route will cross his farmland.
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