A80 Auchenkilns upgrade given green light


The upgrading of the A80 Auchenkilns Roundabout, Cumbernauld was today given the go-ahead.

The scheme replaces the existing roundabout by a grade separated junction with a new bridge spanning the A80 which connects two new roundabouts on either side. The A73, diverted B8048 and four connecting slip roads to and from the A80 will link to these new roundabouts.

Deputy Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Lewis Macdonald said :

"The A80 is a major link in the Scottish trunk road network. The Auchenkilns Roundabout has experienced major congestion for a long time. Upgrading the roundabout in this way will remove some of the worst congestion on the network, bringing major benefits in terms of road safety and increased reliability in journey times. It will also make a significant contribution to how effectively the route handles increased volumes of traffic, especially at peak times.

"While I recognise there has been opposition to the scheme from some local residents, I have taken the decision to allow the project to proceed now, without a Public Inquiry. Inevitably, with the implementation of a new scheme, there is a balance to be struck. Having considered all the arguments, I am satisfied the benefits to be gained from not delaying construction any further are so significant that they outweigh any negative impact on the surrounding community.

"The tendering process to select a contractor for the scheme will begin immediately, allowing a start to be made to construction in summer 2003."

The upgrading of the A80 Auchenkilns Roundabout was one of the schemes announced by Ministers in March this year that could be taken forward quickly, providing early benefits to the trunk road network. Construction is expected to start by summer 2003 and be completed within 18 months.

The Scottish Executive's "Travel Choices for Scotland - Strategic Roads Review" published in November 1999 recognised the role for major trunk road improvements, within the Executive's integrated transport strategy. Such improvements must be consistent with the Executive's five main transport objectives of environment, safety, economy, accessibility and integration.

A number of objections remained to the draft road enabling orders, but Ministers have concluded that a Public Local Inquiry was not warranted on this occasion. Scottish Ministers decision, in support of the proposals, has been issued to the objectors.

Newsletters and public exhibitions outlining the key public transport and road based elements of the plan for the A80 to 2010 were published in September. This enables public comment to be considered along with the consultants recommendations before decisions are taken. The decision to proceed with the upgrading of Auchenkilns should not be seen as implying that decisions have already been taken on the detail of the on-line upgrade through Cumbernauld for the upgrade of the A80. Ministers will base decisions on precisely what road and public transport interventions may be required, taking account of the views expressed during the consultation period on the Central Scotland Transport Corridor Studies (CSTCS) recommendations. An announcement is expected on these decisions in the New Year.