Strategic Road Projects Review

General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 2nd December 2004.

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Photo of Helen Eadie Helen Eadie Labour 2:00 pm, 2nd December 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive when the review of strategic road projects will begin in order to ensure that gaps in the network are closed and that bypasses for those communities seeking them are given consideration. (S2O-4379)

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

The partnership agreement commits the Executive to starting the strategic projects review before 2007. The review will cover all transport modes, not just strategic roads. A significant number of major new road schemes, including bypasses, are already being progressed as part of our £3 billion capital investment programme for transport.

Photo of Helen Eadie Helen Eadie Labour

One of the Scottish Executive's success stories is the development of the Superfast ferry, which has helped to remove millions of heavy goods vehicle miles from the road network. However, the continuing success of the ferry means that many HGVs are using the roads in and around the Rosyth ferry port, so will the minister and his colleagues give priority consideration in the review to the aspiration of the communities in Rosyth and Inverkeithing to have a bypass at Rosyth? Every time that there are high winds, the Forth road bridge is closed to HGVs, caravans and high-sided vehicles, which are rerouted through the towns of Inverkeithing and Rosyth, creating an unacceptable impact on the people there.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

Can we just have the question?

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

I will bear it mind. On the earlier point, Helen Eadie has made representations to me, as have other MSPs from the area, such as Scott Barrie, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is busy on other matters today but would be interested in this reply. I want Rosyth's future to be considered carefully and I agree that new investment is needed in the road network. If we are going to be ambitious for Rosyth, make new linkages and take more freight off our roads, a rail network to Rosyth, as well as the enhancement of the ferry service, will be required.

Photo of Donald Gorrie Donald Gorrie Liberal Democrat

Will the minister consider promoting the development of a bridge across the Forth that would take some of the traffic that at the moment goes by the Forth road bridge or by the A80? The new Kincardine bridge could ease those two blockages.

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

The new investment that we propose in the extra Kincardine bridge—it will not replace the existing bridge; a second bridge will be created—is important and can help the road network through to Stirling and Clackmannanshire. We must be prepared to take a longer-term view on the issue and consider the future of all the Forth crossings, which is why the early-stage work that the Forth Estuary Transport Authority is doing on the long-term options is important.