South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has labelled the A76 as an “accident waiting to happen” after relieving a massive increase in complaints from constituents over the condition of the road.
The local MSP believes that the “plague of potholes” on the areas “forgotten road” are a danger to drivers and has urged Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to intervene urgently to ensure repairs are carried out before the state of the road leads to a serious accident.
Colin Smyth has also urged Dumfries and Galloway Council and East Ayrshire Council to work together to establish the formal A76 Action Group and warned that failure to effectively lobby the Scottish Government for improvements risks resulting in the trunk road missing out when the Government carries out its forthcoming review of transport projects in the area. The Action Group, which covered the road in both Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, was established a decade ago but the formal group hasn’t met in recent years in contrast to lobby groups that cover the A7, A75 and A77.
The Scottish Government are carrying out a review of the National Transport Strategy and gave a commitment to carry out a Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) for Dumfries and Galloway. The commitment was made at a Transport Summit held in Dumfries in December 2016.
Colin Smyth said, “Representing the South of Scotland means I travel the A76 on a regular basis and there is no doubt that the condition of the road is the worst I have ever seen. That is reflected in the rise of complaints I have receive from constituents, some of whom are genuinely worried about their safety when they drive the road because it is in such an appalling state. Everybody understands that at this time of year we have an increase in the number of defects on a road due to the weather. However, the plague of potholes on the A76 has really got to epidemic levels. The stretch from Mennock into Ayrshire in particular is simply shocking with parts of the road crumbling before our eyes. It really is the area’s forgotten road and unless we see a better maintenance regime from the Scottish Government then I really do fear that it is an accident waiting to happen.”
“In the short term we have to see an increase in maintenance but in the long term we need more improvements to the road to make it safer and to boast the economy of Upper Nithsdale and East Ayrshire. However, that will require effective lobbying by everyone as the road isn’t even on the Government’s radar never mind set to receive any investment. That’s why I’m urging Dumfries and Galloway and East Ayrshire Councils to re-establish the formal A76 Action Group to lobby the Government and put forward the local priorities for improvements to the road. Unless we raise the profile of the A76 then it will simply be bypassed by the Government when they carry out their forthcoming roads review and it will continue to deteriorate further”.