A77: Ayr to Stranraer

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What should become of the A77 between Ayr & Stranraer?

Motorway
18
13%
Grade-Seperated D2
42
31%
At-Grade D2
22
16%
WS2/S3/S4/S2+1 etc.
23
17%
Keep it as it is (ie. S2)
9
7%
Mixture of the above
19
14%
Other (please state)
1
1%
 
Total votes: 134

clc
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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by clc » Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:43

So Boris said in Parliament that his government is going to ‘fix’ the A77, A75 and A1 which he claims have been neglected by the SNP. I don’t see how this is going to happen. The trunk roads are owned by Scottish Ministers so if they refuse to cooperate there’s not much Boris can do about it. Is this just Boris bluster or am I missing something?

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Chris Bertram
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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by Chris Bertram » Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:53

clc wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:43
So Boris said in Parliament that his government is going to ‘fix’ the A77, A75 and A1 which he claims have been neglected by the SNP. I don’t see how this is going to happen. The trunk roads are owned by Scottish Ministers so if they refuse to cooperate there’s not much Boris can do about it. Is this just Boris bluster or am I missing something?
It's Boris bluster, for now at least. But you could make a case for a class of road that is trunked at a UK level rather than at constituent nation level. Which roads would fall into this class can be debated, but A75 might be an obvious candidate, given its importance in connecting English cities to the ferry to NI (just look at how it connects to the motorway network, for instance). A55 looks like another candidate, but I'm not aware that Cardiff Bay has been accused of neglecting it, and sticking with Wales, A40 towards the Irish Sea ports as well. Back in Scotland, A77 seems an odd choice, and A1 needs the English side upgrading first. So, possibly a dead cat move by the increasingly beleaguered PM, but we'll see
Last edited by Chris Bertram on Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:56, edited 1 time in total.
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KeithW
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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by KeithW » Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:55

clc wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:43
So Boris said in Parliament that his government is going to ‘fix’ the A77, A75 and A1 which he claims have been neglected by the SNP. I don’t see how this is going to happen. The trunk roads are owned by Scottish Ministers so if they refuse to cooperate there’s not much Boris can do about it. Is this just Boris bluster or am I missing something?
Well if he said dual those roads and the DfT would pay for them would the Scottish Government refuse ?
If so how would the first minister justify not accepting the money ?

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KeithW
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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by KeithW » Thu Nov 25, 2021 23:02

Chris Bertram wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:53
clc wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:43
So Boris said in Parliament that his government is going to ‘fix’ the A77, A75 and A1 which he claims have been neglected by the SNP. I don’t see how this is going to happen. The trunk roads are owned by Scottish Ministers so if they refuse to cooperate there’s not much Boris can do about it. Is this just Boris bluster or am I missing something?
It's Boris bluster, for now at least. But you could make a case for a class of road that is trunked at a UK level rather than at constituent nation level. Which roads would fall into this class can be debated, but A75 might be an obvious candidate, given its importance in connecting English cities to the ferry to NI (just look at how it connects to the motorway network, for instance). A55 looks like another candidate, but I'm not aware that Cardiff Bay has been accused of neglecting it. A77 seems an odd choice, and A1 needs the English side upgrading first. So, possibly a dead cat move by the increasingly beleaguered PM, but we'll see
As I recall he has already suggested the A1 in England should be dualled to the Scottish Border. I cant say I thinkd its really needed but there are some hot spots that could usefully be improved, Haggerston Castle comes to mind. More to tha point there are some really dodgy junctions that need improving on safety grounds. This one comes to mind.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.67124 ... 8192?hl=en

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by wrinkly » Fri Nov 26, 2021 00:51

KeithW wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:55
clc wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:43
So Boris said in Parliament that his government is going to ‘fix’ the A77, A75 and A1 which he claims have been neglected by the SNP. I don’t see how this is going to happen. The trunk roads are owned by Scottish Ministers so if they refuse to cooperate there’s not much Boris can do about it. Is this just Boris bluster or am I missing something?
Well if he said dual those roads and the DfT would pay for them would the Scottish Government refuse ?
If so how would the first minister justify not accepting the money ?
The Scottish government sees this as an attempt by Johnson to undermine devolution. I believe the Welsh government does too. Johnson has threatened to get the M4 Newport southern bypass built despite the fact that the Welsh government has decided against it. I imagine this would require UK government primary legislation partially undoing the devolution settlement.

I think I've posted this link previously in other threads. It's a letter earlier this year from the Scottish transport minister to the UK transport minister on the occasion of the publication of an interim report of Johnson's UK Connectivity Review. It's worth reading in full as it shows the level of hostility felt.

https://www.transport.gov.scot/media/49 ... pps-mp.pdf

Edit: it appears the final report of the UCR has just come out (probably released at midnight?)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... nal-report

I'll read it in the morning. I've started a specific thread for it:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=43098

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jackal
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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by jackal » Fri Nov 26, 2021 11:13

I don't imagine the UK govt would do any of this through legislative change, which would put them on a hiding to nothing. As mentioned above, it would be more a matter of daring devolved administrations to decline "no strings" investment in their economies.

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by michael769 » Sat Nov 27, 2021 11:19

KeithW wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:55

Well if he said dual those roads and the DfT would pay for them would the Scottish Government refuse ?
He cannot lawfully do so. Roads are a devolved matter and outwith his spehere of influence. He can offer the Scottish Government more money for use on devolved matters but cannot dictate how it is used. Only Parliament can change this.

Until Parliament deems otherwise it is for the Scottish Ministers alone to decide what is spent where on roads in Scotland. He is, of course free to express an opinion on the choices they make, and equally free to try to influence those choices - but he has no authority in the matter.
If so how would the first minister justify not accepting the money ?
By pointing out that to accept funds that the PM did not have lawful authority to offer her would be a criminal offence that would expose her and her fellow ministers to prosecution.

The PM is not free to spend public money as he wishes - and may only do so where authorized by Parliament. That authorization does not currently extend to directly spending money on devolved matters.

Most likely his current bluster is all about trying to influence public opinion so as to put pressure on the SNP to agree to invest in those routes.
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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by Vierwielen » Sat Nov 27, 2021 17:37

michael769 wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 11:19
KeithW wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:55

Well if he said dual those roads and the DfT would pay for them would the Scottish Government refuse ?
He cannot lawfully do so. Roads are a devolved matter and outwith his spehere of influence. He can offer the Scottish Government more money for use on devolved matters but cannot dictate how it is used. Only Parliament can change this.

Until Parliament deems otherwise it is for the Scottish Ministers alone to decide what is spent where on roads in Scotland. He is, of course free to express an opinion on the choices they make, and equally free to try to influence those choices - but he has no authority in the matter.
If so how would the first minister justify not accepting the money ?
By pointing out that to accept funds that the PM did not have lawful authority to offer her would be a criminal offence that would expose her and her fellow ministers to prosecution.

The PM is not free to spend public money as he wishes - and may only do so where authorized by Parliament. That authorization does not currently extend to directly spending money on devolved matters.

Most likely his current bluster is all about trying to influence public opinion so as to put pressure on the SNP to agree to invest in those routes.
If he overplays his hand, he might well find himself with a fight for and English Parliament ( or nine regionalEnglish assemblies with similar power similar to those in Scotland, Wales and NI).

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by KeithW » Sat Nov 27, 2021 22:31

Vierwielen wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 17:37

If he overplays his hand, he might well find himself with a fight for and English Parliament ( or nine regionalEnglish assemblies with similar power similar to those in Scotland, Wales and NI).
Last time regional English Assemblies were mooted the result was an embarrassing debacle. I dont see that being tried again.

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by Glenn A » Sun Nov 28, 2021 09:46

The Ayr by pass is half S2, half D2, probably sufficient when it was built 50 years ago, but should be completely D2 as it can get congested.
Regarding the A75, it all depends on when the ferries are sailing to Ireland. At times it can be quiet, but at others can be dominated by HGVs. I would recommend dualling from Gretna to Dumfries and by passing the remaining settlements west of Dumfies.

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by KeithW » Sun Nov 28, 2021 11:04

Glenn A wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 09:46
The Ayr by pass is half S2, half D2, probably sufficient when it was built 50 years ago, but should be completely D2 as it can get congested.
Regarding the A75, it all depends on when the ferries are sailing to Ireland. At times it can be quiet, but at others can be dominated by HGVs. I would recommend dualling from Gretna to Dumfries and by passing the remaining settlements west of Dumfies.
Reducing the number of Roundabouts wouldnt hurt either and in the case of the A77 there are some very nasty flat junctions. I remember this one well but not fondly.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.42601 ... 8192?hl=en

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by clc » Sun Nov 28, 2021 17:54

KeithW wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:55
clc wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:43
So Boris said in Parliament that his government is going to ‘fix’ the A77, A75 and A1 which he claims have been neglected by the SNP. I don’t see how this is going to happen. The trunk roads are owned by Scottish Ministers so if they refuse to cooperate there’s not much Boris can do about it. Is this just Boris bluster or am I missing something?
Well if he said dual those roads and the DfT would pay for them would the Scottish Government refuse ?
If so how would the first minister justify not accepting the money ?
The Scottish Government could argue that it doesn’t align with its net zero ambitions and that it would break its agreement with the Green Party not to bring forward any new road schemes which increase capacity. The SNP comms machine would say that if the Uk government wanted to invest in Scotland it should focus on sustainable forms of transport such as high speed rail. That may or may not be a persuasive argument for voters in the south of Scotland of course, but ultimately it would be for the Scottish Government to decide whether it would cooperate or not. Boris spoke as if the upgrades were definitely happening thanks to his government which implies the Scottish Government would have no say, which is clearly not the case.

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by Glenn A » Sun Nov 28, 2021 18:08

clc wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 17:54
KeithW wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:55
clc wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:43
So Boris said in Parliament that his government is going to ‘fix’ the A77, A75 and A1 which he claims have been neglected by the SNP. I don’t see how this is going to happen. The trunk roads are owned by Scottish Ministers so if they refuse to cooperate there’s not much Boris can do about it. Is this just Boris bluster or am I missing something?
Well if he said dual those roads and the DfT would pay for them would the Scottish Government refuse ?
If so how would the first minister justify not accepting the money ?
The Scottish Government could argue that it doesn’t align with its net zero ambitions and that it would break its agreement with the Green Party not to bring forward any new road schemes which increase capacity. The SNP comms machine would say that if the Uk government wanted to invest in Scotland it should focus on sustainable forms of transport such as high speed rail. That may or may not be a persuasive argument for voters in the south of Scotland of course, but ultimately it would be for the Scottish Government to decide whether it would cooperate or not. Boris spoke as if the upgrades were definitely happening thanks to his government which implies the Scottish Government would have no say, which is clearly not the case.
There's only the line to Stranraer in this part of Scotland, which is very unlikely to see any improvement due low passenger numbers, and nothing west of Dumfries since 1965. The A75 and A77 therefore are far more important in this part of Scotland than a high speed rail link in the central belt.

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by M19 » Sun Nov 28, 2021 19:50

I think there are may more reasons than just traffic that road upgrades serve a purpose for - to create routes that are strategic, safe and consistent in standards and resilient. Routes like the A75 and A1 are examples, as is the A9 and A96. Also in England, upgrading the A66 is important for this reason.

Of course the eco lobby would beg to differ, trotting out the usual and often emotive anti road cliches “more roads attract more traffic”, “ climate/planet wrecking” etc, losing sight of the wider reasons why road upgrades can be of benefit.

Bypassing towns and villages for example can be a great way of unlocking space in towns that can be put to use for cycling and walking infrastructure and improving the look and feel of former through routes as part of the places they once passes through. If upgrades road corridors were packages with these wider improvements they would be more welcomed.

In the Netherlands is it no coincidence that having one of the highest motorway densities has provided opportunities for improving cycling in the towns that traffic once passed through? If that is the case then why does the eco lobby and/or cycle lobby mention only to the cycle infrastructure and not the investment in motorways that allowed this to happen?

Digressing slightly I do think that improving infrastructure for cycling, walking, public transport, and roads are not solutions on their own but work at their best at appropriate combinations that suit their contexts. Unfortunately politics with big and small Ps frustrates this.
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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by KeithW » Sun Nov 28, 2021 20:09

M19 wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 19:50
I think there are may more reasons than just traffic that road upgrades serve a purpose for - to create routes that are strategic, safe and consistent in standards and resilient. Routes like the A75 and A1 are examples, as is the A9 and A96. Also in England, upgrading the A66 is important for this reason.

Of course the eco lobby would beg to differ, trotting out the usual and often emotive anti road cliches “more roads attract more traffic”, “ climate/planet wrecking” etc, losing sight of the wider reasons why road upgrades can be of benefit.

Bypassing towns and villages for example can be a great way of unlocking space in towns that can be put to use for cycling and walking infrastructure and improving the look and feel of former through routes as part of the places they once passes through. If upgrades road corridors were packages with these wider improvements they would be more welcomed.

In the Netherlands is it no coincidence that having one of the highest motorway densities has provided opportunities for improving cycling in the towns that traffic once passed through? If that is the case then why does the eco lobby and/or cycle lobby mention only to the cycle infrastructure and not the investment in motorways that allowed this to happen?

Digressing slightly I do think that improving infrastructure for cycling, walking, public transport, and roads are not solutions on their own but work at their best at appropriate combinations that suit their contexts. Unfortunately politics with big and small Ps frustrates this.

As I recall the A77 Maybole bypass is due to open this year. That will make a big difference , if they bypass Girvan, Craigiemains and Ballantrae then its pretty much job done. AADF south of Maybole is around 8k and a bypass of the rest is more about safety and the environment than congestion except for Girvan which is a pain and must be worse for the people who live there.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.24409 ... 8192?hl=en

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by clc » Sun Nov 28, 2021 21:25

KeithW wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 20:09
As I recall the A77 Maybole bypass is due to open this year. That will make a big difference , if they bypass Girvan, Craigiemains and Ballantrae then its pretty much job done. AADF south of Maybole is around 8k and a bypass of the rest is more about safety and the environment than congestion except for Girvan which is a pain and must be worse for the people who live there.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.24409 ... 8192?hl=en
One of the worst sections of the route imo is just south of Ballantrae where the road winds its way up the hill to Auchencrosh, a horribly twisty and substandard bit of road. I’m not sure how they would go about upgrading it though given the topography. I’d also like to see the Dowhill to Burnside Farm WS2+1 north of Girvan and the Ardwell to Slockenray scheme south of Girvan revived as they’d straighten out some twisty bits and provide more guaranteed overtaking opportunities. There are a few other short sections here and there which could do with being straightened, just south of Alloway and either side of Kirkoswald for example, though these wouldn’t be high priority.

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by clc » Sun Nov 28, 2021 21:46

Glenn A wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 18:08
clc wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 17:54
KeithW wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 22:55


Well if he said dual those roads and the DfT would pay for them would the Scottish Government refuse ?
If so how would the first minister justify not accepting the money ?
The Scottish Government could argue that it doesn’t align with its net zero ambitions and that it would break its agreement with the Green Party not to bring forward any new road schemes which increase capacity. The SNP comms machine would say that if the Uk government wanted to invest in Scotland it should focus on sustainable forms of transport such as high speed rail. That may or may not be a persuasive argument for voters in the south of Scotland of course, but ultimately it would be for the Scottish Government to decide whether it would cooperate or not. Boris spoke as if the upgrades were definitely happening thanks to his government which implies the Scottish Government would have no say, which is clearly not the case.
There's only the line to Stranraer in this part of Scotland, which is very unlikely to see any improvement due low passenger numbers, and nothing west of Dumfries since 1965. The A75 and A77 therefore are far more important in this part of Scotland than a high speed rail link in the central belt.
I don’t disagree. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Boris made a promise that is not in his gift to deliver on. If the Scottish Government decides to stand its ground then there’s nothing he can do about it.

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by KeithW » Sun Nov 28, 2021 23:27

clc wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 21:46
I don’t disagree. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Boris made a promise that is not in his gift to deliver on. If the Scottish Government decides to stand its ground then there’s nothing he can do about it.
Well the main reason it has low passenger numbers is that the ferries no longer leave from Stranraer but use Cairnryan which doesnt have a rail link.

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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by c2R » Mon Nov 29, 2021 09:22

KeithW wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 23:27
clc wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 21:46
I don’t disagree. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Boris made a promise that is not in his gift to deliver on. If the Scottish Government decides to stand its ground then there’s nothing he can do about it.
Well the main reason it has low passenger numbers is that the ferries no longer leave from Stranraer but use Cairnryan which doesnt have a rail link.
Indeed - obviously the move to the deepwater port at Cairnryan was the right decision as it is a far better location for the ferries to depart from, but it does leave a gap in rail connectivity.

However, it's also important to note that the fastest train that you can get from Carlisle to Stranraer takes 3h41 (£38.10) for a mid-morning train - while the afternoon train takes a whopping 5h02 (£88.70). The same journey by car is 2h20, or by National Express coach is 2h45 (cost £17.50, and you get straight to the port).

Coaches obviously use the roads, and the A75 has sections, particularly through the villages, that even an anti-car administration would struggle to argue that there shouldn't be further investment in the route.

In terms of rail freight - there's virtually no transfer from Cairnryan to rail when the ferries unload. Unlike the longer crossings, Larne/Belfast to Cairnryan is very short, so there's far more accompanied freight, much of which is destined for England and beyond (most traffic appears to head off down the A75, not the A77).
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Re: A77: Ayr to Stranraer

Post by Glenn A » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:36

M19 wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 19:50
I think there are may more reasons than just traffic that road upgrades serve a purpose for - to create routes that are strategic, safe and consistent in standards and resilient. Routes like the A75 and A1 are examples, as is the A9 and A96. Also in England, upgrading the A66 is important for this reason.

Of course the eco lobby would beg to differ, trotting out the usual and often emotive anti road cliches “more roads attract more traffic”, “ climate/planet wrecking” etc, losing sight of the wider reasons why road upgrades can be of benefit.

Bypassing towns and villages for example can be a great way of unlocking space in towns that can be put to use for cycling and walking infrastructure and improving the look and feel of former through routes as part of the places they once passes through. If upgrades road corridors were packages with these wider improvements they would be more welcomed.

In the Netherlands is it no coincidence that having one of the highest motorway densities has provided opportunities for improving cycling in the towns that traffic once passed through? If that is the case then why does the eco lobby and/or cycle lobby mention only to the cycle infrastructure and not the investment in motorways that allowed this to happen?

Digressing slightly I do think that improving infrastructure for cycling, walking, public transport, and roads are not solutions on their own but work at their best at appropriate combinations that suit their contexts. Unfortunately politics with big and small Ps frustrates this.
The green lobby are often misguided and have a very anti car agenda. People who live in a town or village that have been by passed will always comment on how much better the quality of life with most of the through traffic gone. I often visit The Anchor in Haydon Bridge for a meal and remember well the pollution, accidents and congestion from the A69, and now it's possible to sit outside and enjoy a meal without traffic noise and pollution. I very much doubt anyone in Haydon Bridge would want their by pass closed, and also the village has an hourly train service to Newcastle and Carlisle and a regular bus service to both cities.

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