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Thursday, November 4, 1999 Published at 06:15 GMT

UK: Scotland

Green light for roads projects

Five trunk road projects have been announced

Scotland's transport minister has given the go-ahead for the construction of five major trunk roads.

Sarah Boyack, who confirmed proposals for urban congestion and workplace parking charges, told the Scottish Parliament that the five roads would be of "tremendous benefit" to road users in Scotland.

[ image: Sarah Boyack: Safety first]
Sarah Boyack: Safety first
But opposition parties condemned the announcement, and accused the Scottish Executive of being in "disarray".

There was a mixed reaction from businesses, motoring organisations and pressure groups.

The five schemes will include major works on the A1 Haddington to Dunbar route, in East Lothian, and the A77 at Fenwick, in Ayrshire.

[ image: Sarah Boyack: Safety first]
Sarah Boyack: Safety first
The use of private funding will be investigated for the A77, which will become the M77, but tolls were ruled out.

Ms Boyack said the decisions were based on a range of criteria, including safety considerations, economic benefits, accessibility and the environment.

However, she stressed that safety had been the prime mover in the Strategic Roads Review, particularly in relation to the notorious A77 - dubbed a "killer road".

She told MSPs: "We must reduce the number of accidents and casualties on our roads and safety has been a paramount factor in the review.

"The understandable strength of feeling in areas with accident blackspots has been a major consideration and I believe this news will be particularly welcome in Ayrshire as we tackle the A77 'killer road'."

Ms Boyack said four of the schemes would be funded by the government but the M77 development was subject to the public-private partnership, a form of the controversial private finance initiative.

The road proposals announced were:

  • Upgrading to motorway status of the A77 Fenwick to Malletsheugh

  • A dual carriage expressway on the A1 Haddington to Dunbar

  • A two lane carriageway on one of the last single track trunk routes in Scotland the A830 Arisaig to Kinsadel section of the Mallaig road - the road to the isles

  • The A96 Fochabers bypass

  • The A78 Ardrossan to Saltcoats bypass.

Ms Boyack said the Scottish Executive was seeking to ensure "protect communities" from the effects of heavy traffic and introduce sustainable transport policies.

She ruled out a replacement of the A80 through the Kelvin Valley, which has been a long-standing bone of contention with community groups.

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