on a£7m major improvement scheme on the strategic A75 route
near Dumfries when he cut the first sod at the site.
The project will greatly improve transport links in the area - and adds to the already significant investment of more than£110m on the
Mr McLeish said the scheme clearly demonstrated the government's
commitment to rural areas like Dumfries and Galloway and comes in
the wake of other significant road improvements in the area, including
bypasses of all major communities on the route, including Dumfries,
Annan, Newton Stewart and Castle Douglas.
The minister said:
'I am delighted to be able to perform the historic sod-cutting ceremony on this major new road project. It is an important initiative which I am sure will be greatly welcomed by everyone who uses the road.
'The A75 performs a vital role in the economy of South West Scotland
and is also a key artery of the trans-European Road Network to Ireland. This scheme will greatly improve safety and reduce journey times on the route and work is also underway on the A75 Route Action Plan which will carry out a series of smaller-scale local measures along its entire length from Gretna to Stranraer.
'A high-quality trunk road network is vital to Scotland - but the
government also recognises the importance of public transport to rural
areas like Dumfries and Galloway. We have just allocated£4.5m
of new money to tackle the distinctive public transport needs of rural
areas in Scotland like Dumfries in Galloway. We will shortly announce
how this money will be allocated.
'We will also publish our Scottish Integrated Transport White Paper in
the summer. This will put in place the framework to deliver a modern
environmentally-friendly transport network to take Scotland into the
next century. This will effectively meet the different needs of our urban and rural communities.'
1. The Glen Improvement is a£7m design and build contract to upgrade a 4.5 km section of the route from Garroch Loaning to Drummore and comprises of 2 km of dual carriageway and 2.5 km of single carriageway, part of which includes a climbing lane. The new
scheme is scheduled for completion in autumn 1999 and will eliminate
the tortuous alignment of the existing route, with its limited overtaking opportunities and subsequent potential for accidents.
2. The contract was won by Farrans (Construction) Ltd, and their
designer Carl Bro. The tender price reflects a number of innovations, as this kind of contract allows the particular skills and strengths of
contractors and their designers to be realised. Changes to the original design have resulted in a proposal to adopt a more effective junction strategy at the eastern end of the scheme and also to replace a farm accommodation overbridge with a less intrusive underpass. In this way gains are made in terms of cost effective improvements in the layout of the section of new roadwhich fit well with the natural characteristics of the area.