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13 June 2007

Key rural roads to benefit from major investment

Schemes worth a combined total of £32 million get underway today to improve two vital links for the communities and businesses in the north west and south west of Scotland.

A £22.8 million scheme will upgrade the last remaining section of single track trunk road in the country by turning a 7.7km section of the A830 in the West Highlands into two-lane status.

Transport Scotland will also invest £9.2 million into Dumfries and Galloway's infrastructure by widening the A75 at three sections along the 159 km trunk road to provide safe overtaking opportunities.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said: "The importance of both trunk roads to the communities and businesses they serve can not be underestimated. The A830 provides a lifeline connection for the rural West Highlands and this investment will give the region a stronger economic link for the future.

“The A75 plays a valuable role in the south west, linking South Ayrshire with Dumfries and Galloway and work there will safely improve traffic flow and improve connections.

“But both roads are also important nationally, playing a valuable role in Scotland’s transport network and providing links to ferry connections. I am delighted that work gets underway today.”

The section of the A830 in the North West stretches from Arisaig to Loch nan Uamh and forms part of the ‘Road to the Isles’ that links Fort William to Mallaig.

The project will significantly improve safety, traffic flow and journey times and result in better links with Mallaig’s ferry connections to Skye. It will also strengthen connections for the area’s businesses and the tourist industry which is so vital to the regional economy.

The A75 work will also improve safety and traffic flow by allowing faster moving vehicles to overtake platoons of slower vehicles - reducing driver frustration and improving journey times.

A 875m section of the South West route at Barfil to Bettyknowes will have overtaking opportunities provided and the road alignment improved. A 375m section of road at Newton Stewart will also be widened with a cycle route provided to take cyclists away from the trunk road, through Newton Stewart. And from Planting End to Drumflower a 1km stretch will be widened to allow overtaking with alignment also being improved.

Both the Barfil to Bettyknowes and Planting End to Drumflower schemes will also include the provision of safe crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists.

The A75 links South Ayrshire with Dumfries and Galloway through Stranraer, Dumfries and Gretna. It connects ferry terminals at Stranraer with the M74 and A77.

Contractor Graham Construction will deliver the A75 works that will be complete in spring 2008. The contractor for the A830 work is Morrison Construction and this scheme will be complete in early 2009.

Traffic management will be required to allow work to be safely delivered on both schemes and this will result in a level disruption to road users. Drivers are urged to plan their journeys accordingly.

Notes:

1) Transport Scotland is the national transport agency responsible for trunk roads, rail and national concessionary travel. It is an Executive agency directly accountable to Scottish Ministers and came into effect on 1 January 2006. For further information visit www.transportscotland.gov.uk

2) To consider public transport options visit www.travelinescotland.com or www.transportdirect.info

3) The value of the Arisaig work is £22.8 million with £3 million coming from European funding and the remainder being funded by Transport Scotland.
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