Galloway Labour MP Russell Brown is calling for improvements from the Scottish Government to the A77 to minimise the risk of future landslips, after the road was blocked for the second time in just over a month.
The local MP has written to Keith Brown, the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities after the road was closed for several days last week as a result of a landslip at Carlock Hill, south of Ballantrae.
The closure led to vehicles initially having to travel an additional 53 miles using the A714. However, flooding on the A714 led to a further re-routing using the A713 which meant that the detour was in excess of 100 miles.
The landslip at Carlock Hill is the second to hit the area in just over a month. The road was closed in November due to landslips at Cairnryan just north of the ferry terminal, at Marchburn north of the South Ayrshire / Dumfries & Galloway Boundary and at Carlock Hill.
Russell Brown raised concerns over the closures last week with Scotland transerv, the Scottish Government’s contractor with responsibility for maintaining trunk roads but believes the frequency of the closures on such a major trunk road now warrants a proper investigation by the Scottish Government into possible solutions.
Russell Brown said: “Everyone accepts that heavy rainfall can impact on roads and landlips can happen. However, the fact we have seen a key trunk road closed yet again in such a short period of time shows there is clearly a major problem along the route. This isn’t a one off. We had three landslips last month and a further one in the same location this month. It’s clear that the ‘patch up and make do’ repair work carried out after the last incident at Carlock Hill was simply not good enough to prevent further problems and you have to wonder when the next landslip will happen and we will see further disruption.”
“The A77 is absolutely crucial to the economy of Wigtownshire. It carries a significant amount of the Cairnryan ferry traffic to and from the central belt, especially HGVs and it’s also a main route for students travelling to college in Ayr, as well as people travelling between Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway for employment. As we saw from the detour routes, there is no easy way round when the A77 is closed. For some people a short journey of a few miles last week turned into one of over 100 miles.
“We need to see action from the Scottish Government. If this was happening in the central belt they would move quickly to solve the problem, so why should Wigtownshire be any different? I have written to Keith Brown, the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment & Cities calling for a proper study of the road at the key points were landslips may occur and potential preventative work identified and carried out to ensure we don’t have a repeat of these closures.
“When Alex Salmond opened the Stena ferry terminal in Cairnryan in 2011 he referred to the ‘three ‘R’- roads, rail and regeneration. Since then there has been no new investment locally in the A77, direct rail services from Stranraer will soon be axed and the so-called Regeneration Taskforce for Stranraer he announced that day was promptly scrapped by Nicola Sturgeon at her first meeting. I suspect local people will be adding a fourth R to describe the latest way the Scottish Government has forgotten about the area- Rubbish”.