Review raises hope for A75 and A77 upgrade
A top-level review into improving the UK’s transport infrastructure has singled out both the A75 and A77 for significant upgrading.
Transport expert Sir Peter Hendy identified both routes as being “crucially and strategically” important towards enhancing connectivity between the four nations.
Now upgrading of the A75 between Gretna and Stranraer is one of several projects that will share £20m of development funding.
In his eagerly-awaited interim report Sir Peter insisted on the need for higher capacity and faster connections between the ferry port at Cairnryan to the M6 corridor in order to boost both freight and passenger traffic to and from Northern Ireland.
It was revealed recently the A75 has one of the poorest safety records having been closed on no less than 34 occasions because of accidents in the last four years.
The road carries thousands of HGVs every year between the UK and Northern Ireland – with traffic levels expected to increase in the coming years.
Sir Peter stressed transport remains central to people’s lives. he said: “The review will deliver a series of substantive recommendations that seek to address inequalities in connectivity and economic potential in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Maritime connectivity between Scotland and Northern Ireland is critical for freight, not only between these countries, but also good travelling through Scotland between England and Northern Ireland.
“This freight flows through the port of Cairnryan, therefore, road connectivity to Stranraer on the west coast is of key strategic importance specifically the A75 and A77.
“There are a number of other UK ports in Scotland though none come close to the port of Cairnryan in terms of domestic freight volumes.
“Feedback from stakeholders have identified the A75 to the port of Cairnryan being of interest.”
The review confirmed an official feasibility study to assess the possibility of building a bridge or tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland at a cost of more than £20bn.
Further work will now be undertaken by two engineering professors to assess the potential project, outline cost and timescale.