Anger mounts over A77 closures

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Carrick communities are angry with road closures that saw confusion and disruption reign in the area over the last week.

Scotland TranServ has been carrying out works on the A77 over the first two weeks of November leading to road closures and lengthy diversions for motorists.

The works have been taking place south of Girvan, near to Ardwell Farm, meaning the main route for road users south of Girvan and those heading to the port of Cairnryan was shut off.

The first works took place with midweek overnight closures at the beginning of November but the problems really began when a full weekend closure was scheduled to begin on Friday November 6.

However, those works didn’t start due to adverse weather conditions until the Saturday morning before the road was re-opened ahead of schedule on the Sunday night.

Scotland TranServ then took a decision to carry out works overnight between 8pm and 6am on Tuesday November 10, leaving motorists scrambling to find out about diversions.

Remarkably the road was then shut the following night without any prior notice as Scotland TranServ’s website wasn’t updated.

A further full weekend closure was planned for Friday 13 November onwards until 6am on Monday.

However, Scotland TranServ took the decision to cancel these works on Thursday 12 November ahead of adverse weather forecasts.

The Gazette understands that these carriageway construction works on the A77 have now been postponed until the New Year.

When the roads were actually closed, it caused misery for many Carrick villages who were disrupted by the sight of HGV lorries driving up the B734 back road from Pinwherry to Colmonell to rejoin the A77 at Ballantrae.

Roger Pirrie, Chair of Pinmore and Pinwherry Community Council said: “I’m not one for saying not in my backyard but I live next to the B734 road and when these HGV lorries were coming down this road, it was like the M1 and it went on all night.

“Shutting the roads has been a perennial problem in this area and there really needs to be better control.

“Motorists at the ship end of Girvan and vice versa should know where the road is closed.

“I’m currently in the process of setting up a meeting between TranServ and the Ayrshire Roads Alliance and I’ve invited along the community councils from Ballantrae, Barrhill, Colmonell and Lendalfoot as well as Pinmore and Pinwherry.

“I’m not going in looking for a bunfight with these people or going in with an adversorial approach, I’m going with the hope of finding a solution.

“We need to find out how did this arise and what control measures are going to be put in place for the next time works are happening.

“We know what the hazards are but if the right measures are not in place next time then there could be a lot of red faces.

“There needs to be a communicated co-ordinated approach between TranServ and the Roads Alliance on this.

“To be fair to the roads alliance, they have done a lot of good work on improving the A714 but the B734 is a different matter and it is far too hazardous a road for these HGVs to be travelling on.

“The meeting is set to be held in Ballantrae on the 25th or 26th November.”

Mr Pirrie added that he has no problem with HGV’s using the roads, but warns of safety concerns.

“I have no problem with these vehicles on the road, they pay their tax but a lot of them don’t know the nature of these roads.

“There are real safety concerns about driving on these sort of roads.

“I’m not going to comment about the scheduling of works as I don’t know what the schedule is but I do agree that it might have been better to do it at a different time of year.

“Our main focus in the meeting will be to find a solution to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Mhairi McKenna, Chair of Ballantrae Community Council added: “Unfortunately Transerv couldn’t make it to a Keep Ballantrae Safe meeting we had but now we hope there is a bigger situation going that Michael Pagan of Transerv and Kevin Braidwood of the Roads Alliance will come down to provide clarification.

“I was coming down from Ayr last week at night on the road from Colomnell and I came across a man from Aberdeen who had been forced into the verge and had damaged his rear wheel, necessitating a change of tyre by the roadside.

“I then met several large lorries and transporters who were needing to use the whole surface of the road to get round the bends.

“The B734 is not safe for them to be on.

“The information we were told did not correlate with what actually happened.”

A Scotland Tran Serv spokeperson responded to Gazette questioning: “The correct signage was in place to divert road users via the A714. This is a standard diversion route agreed with Police Scotland and the local authority.

“Mobile VMS, information via social media and travel desks was readily available to notify local residents of the closure.

“A date has not yet been confirmed to complete these works. This will depend on forecasted weather conditions.”