The contractors who will deliver the £31.5m A77 Maybole bypass have been named by Transport Scotland.
Wills Bros Civil Engineering Limited has been awarded the construction contract for the 5km bypass and associated junctions.
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity said: “The local community will benefit from opportunities created for small and medium enterprises to bid for subcontractor roles and the provision of at least four vocational and seven professional, site-based training opportunities.
“The contractor anticipates that the project could employ up to 165 people, during the months of peak construction activity, a number of which are created by the project.
“We recognise the strategic importance of providing good transport links on the major routes to the key port at Cairnryan. This announcement continues to build upon the significant investment already delivered across ten improvement projects since 2007 on the A77 and A75.
“Delivering the Maybole Bypass will provide better journey time reliability for road users as well as improved safety and environmental benefits for the local community.”
A spokesperson for Transport Scotland said: “We expect the contractor to finalise its programme in the coming weeks and for construction to start shortly thereafter.
“We hope to be in a position to provide a date for completion once the sod cut takes place over the coming weeks and once the contractor has further progressed the design, giving us more confidence about a credible completion date.”
Responding to the news South of Scotland Conservative MSP Brian Whittle said: “After so many long years of waiting and so much hard work by local residents and campaigners, I’m delighted to see the Maybole Bypass moving forward.
“The new bypass will benefit drivers on the A77 and opens the way for new investment and redevelopment in Maybole. It is disappointing that the Scottish Government chose not to fully dual the bypass, missing an opportunity to future-proof the road, but it’s still a major step forward for the area.
“This is an important investment but there’s much more that could be done to improve the A77 along its entire length.
“Instead of resting on their laurels with this investment, I’ll continue to challenge the Scottish Government to set out a long term plan for further bypasses and more dual carriageway that will bring the A77 up to the standard drivers expect from a trunk road and help grow the economy across Ayrshire.”
The A77 Action Group commented on their Facebook page: “We welcome it happening but it still doesn’t touch the sides!”