CONSTRUCTION ABOUT TO BEGIN ON VITAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT
For years, locals have lobbied for a new Dalry Bypass.
The SNP listened and I lobbied Ministers hard, from August 2007 onwards. At that time I arranged a meeting in Dalry with the Transport Minister, Transport Scotland, NAC, etc., to take it forward. However, Ministers, hamstrung by cuts to our capital budget of 26% imposed by the UK Government, could not fund a new bypass. In his 2012 Budget, Finance Secretary, John Swinney MSP announced we would build the bypass and details to take forward the design work were confirmed in 2013.
On both occasions Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MSPs voted against the Dalry Bypass.
Work on the bypass was due to begin in October 2014. However, following statutory objections, a Public Local Inquiry began in September 2014. This was a legal requirement and unavoidable.
The Independent Reporter concluded her inquiry in January last year and SNP Government Ministers received her findings on 06 July 2015. Following this, the SNP Government decided to proceed with both the building of the A737 Dalry Bypass and the Den realignment. This decision was outlined in John Swinney’s most recent Budget on 23 February. Once again, all opposition parties voted against. Thankfully, due to an SNP majority, the Budget was passed.
What Happens Next?
Following the decision by the SNP Government to proceed with the bypass and the realignment, construction companies have now been invited to bid for the projects, with the publication of a notification in the Official Journal of the European Union on Friday 18 March 2016.
The notice outlines construction costs in the range of £34 million to £38 million. The bidder which best meets the criteria will be invited to tender for the project.
This Notice marks an important milestone for the Dalry Bypass, ensuring that this critical infrastructure project starts construction on site this financial year.
Why Do We Need a Bypass?
- Frequent and long delays on the existing road at peak times.
- Height restriction under railway bridge prevents HGV travel. Often delays due to bridge strikes at this section.
- Narrow road and restricted turning space at top of Townend Street.
- Bus journey time instability due to congestion.
- Competing demands between local road users and long distance journeys.
- Poor connectivity between North Ayrshire and major population centres across west central Scotland.
- Reduced air quality in the town due to heavy traffic and engine idling.
- Poor layout of existing minor junctions.
The Economic Impact
The Dalry Bypass will support more than 200 construction jobs during the 15-18 month construction period.
A study by North Ayrshire Council has shown that improved connectivity will lead to the creation of 1,700 additional jobs in North Ayrshire in the decade following its completion.
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