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Stena Line slams lack of A77 investment

Photo: PA

Bosses at ferry operator, Stena Line, have slammed the lack of investment in the roads to and from its port at Cairnryan in Dumfries and Galloway.

They say without major improvements, travel to and from the UK's third largest port will damage the economy.

They claimed that events over the weekend, which saw the A77 close for almost 24 hours due to severe flooding, will reoccur in the future if the current lack of investment in road improvements continues.

The road closure on Saturday caused major disruption in the area for freight and tourism traffic using the ports.

It's quite clear from this and other incidents that the current A77 and A75 don't reflect the requirements fitting of a major UK - Ireland travel and freight hub so I'm afraid that major disruptions and loss of trade could be a feature of life in the region until those responsible commit the necessary resources to alleviate these recurring problems."

– Paul Grant, Stena Line's Trade Director (Irish Sea North)
Credit: ITV Border

As the third largest port gateway in the UK, it seems incredible that Loch Ryan is still unable to attract the support and investment other UK ports have been able to secure to help them meet the increasing demands placed upon them. Incidents like the weekend put a sharp focus on the limitations of the current road infrastructure in the region and we would urge local politicians to work with us to help the people and economy of South West Scotland get the road network they now desperately deserve. Stena Line have invested approx. £250 million in its Cairnryan - Belfast route and this commitment needs to be reciprocated. Freight and travel customers need to be able to get to their markets safely and without disruptions. The peripheral and isolated nature of Cairnryan needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency."

– Paul Grant, Stena Line's Trade Director (Irish Sea North)

A Transport Scotland spokesman said:

Our operating company in the area, Scotland Transerv, worked to reopen the A77 at this location as soon as possible despite the ongoing severe weather which hampered the recovery. We will contact Stena to discuss the issues they have raised.

"We recognise the key routes to our ports are essential to connect businesses to the marketplace and support the local, regional and national economies - that is why are currently taking forward plans for a new bypass at Maybole worth £30 million, having delivered substantial improvements to the A77 at Symington and Bogend Toll, Glen App, Haggstone and Park End, and invested nearly £50million in the maintenance of the A77 since 2007.

"This is in addition to £66 million invested in maintenance of the A75, and other major improvements between Hardgrove and Kinmount, Cairntop and Barlae, and a new bypass at Dunragit."

– Transport Scotland spokesperson