The Scottish Parliament – Public Petition No. PE01657
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to dual the A77 from Ayr Whitlett’s Roundabout south to the two ferry ports located at Cairnryan, including the point at which the A77 connects with the A75.
The A77 is the main arterial route from the central belt to the south west of Scotland. On the way it also provides connections to a number of towns and villages. It also provides the road connection between our capital city Edinburgh via Glasgow to Northern Ireland’s capital city Belfast and the Republic of Ireland’s capital city Dublin beyond that. So from an economic perspective, as well as a cultural view point, the A77 is a strategic road, nationally and internationally.
The line of the road often reflects its design history harking back centuries to the days of coach and horses. From Edinburgh to the notorious Whitlett’s roundabout at Ayr the journey is relatively straight forward on motorway or dual carriageway. From this point south the road not only narrows to a single carriageway, it also passes through eight communities all with urban speed limits ranging from 40mph to 20mph. It has very few dedicated safe passing places to overtake slower moving vehicle types that use this road.
We as a country need to build on the investments already implemented in the area, such as the £77 million, spent on the A77 & A75 from 2008 (the A77 improvements being the Symington and Bogend Toll improvements relating to safety improvements and on sections of dual carriageway north of Ayr). The design work and planning of Maybole’s bypass that is scheduled to commence August 2018 is also included in this figure.
Existing pressure on the road
The pulse of vehicle numbers associated with the HGV traffic coming off the ferries results in long convoyed queues in a platoon effect travelling along the road, making passing these vehicles dangerous.
There is a large proportion of tourist traffic, which is unfamiliar with the snaking, twisting nature of the road.
There is a mix of slow (agricultural vehicles) and fast-moving traffic (cars and motorcyclists), which can cause delays and lead to driver impatience in the form of rash and often near fatal errors of judgement.
In some places the road width does not allow two HGVs to safely pass each other without one giving way to the other.
The road width also does not allow road work to be carried out in a safe way without closing the road (eleven closures occurred for this reason in 2016/17), which results in lengthy diversion routes on even more unsuitable roads.
There is increased traffic travelling south via the A77 south of Ayr to get to the North Channel ferries operating out of Loch Ryan as a result of the withdrawal of the Troon to Larne ferry service.
Potential benefits of an upgrade
The National Planning Framework Strategy Map unequivocally demonstrates the economic and social significance of both A77 and that of A75 to Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom in equal measure. The local and national economy would benefit by being more accessible to tourists, commerce and improve the links between Scotland and Northern Ireland and its neighbour and EU country the Republic of Ireland.
The A77 Truck Road had nine road closures south of Whitlett’s roundabout at Ayr in 2016/17 alone due to road traffic incidents. If the road was wider and upgraded, then these closures would be less frequent, so the communities along the diversionary routes could be left without the thundering traffic disturbing their idyllic settings.
The bypasses and improvements we seek are not that dissimilar to the project benefits of the A737 Dalry bypass in that these upgrades it would serve to separate local from strategic traffic. This in turn would encourage improved economic & employment opportunities through better journey time reliability for both motorists and businesses along the length of the A77.
An independent study commissioned by South Ayrshire Council stated that the benefit to Scotland of events, such as the 145th Golf Open that was held at Royal Troon, was £110m as a whole. The world famous golf course and holiday complex at Turnberry owned by President Trump is being starved of such events due to the lack of investment in the road structure. The action called for in the petition could therefore have positive economic implications for Scotland as a whole.
South West Scotland needs a fit for purpose road infrastructure in order to sustain and grow with the greater community of Scotland, the United Kingdom and within whatever relationship it has with Europe.
The A77 Action Group is not alone in holding these opinions, as many people use the A77 every single day for work, or for social and domestic purposes, and have supported this campaign.
Online Signatures 1599
Hard Copy Signatures 1652
Total Number of Signatures 3251. 8th May - 19th June
The Petition can be view by clicking here