The Scottish Government recognises the importance of the trunk road network in South Ayrshire. Since 2007-08, we have invested more than £66 million in maintenance of the A77 and a further £44 million in maintenance of the A78.
In addition to those maintenance improvements, work is under way on site as part of the £29 million construction contract for the much-needed A77 Maybole bypass. That project will generate significant benefits for local communities and for people who travel from further afield to our key ports and beyond. The new bypass, which is expected to open in summer 2021, will separate local and strategic traffic, thereby relieving congestion in the town, and improving safety and journey time reliability on the A77.
A decade ago, as part of the Scottish Government’s strategic transport projects review, plans were considered for upgrading the A77 around Ayr from single to dual carriageway, and for grade separating the Dutch House, Whitletts and Holmston roundabouts. It was forecast that such improvements would cut congestion levels and result in a reduction of up to 50 per cent in the accident rate. No action has been taken on the proposals in the past decade. Will the cabinet secretary commit to progressing them now?
I am more than happy to give consideration to those issues, but as Mr Scott will know, we are now into the STPR 2 process. Projects that have not been progressed in the original programme will still be considered as part of STPR 2. There is therefore an opportunity for us to consider the proposals as part of the wider work that is currently being undertaken in the review process.