Ex-PSNI chief joins drive to upgrade 'shocking' Scottish roads serving Cairnryan Port
A former RUC and PSNI Assistant Chief Constable has thrown his weight behind a campaign to plug potholes in two Scottish roads used extensively by traffic heading to and from Northern Ireland after his car was badly damaged.
The A75 and A77 serve traffic heading to and from the port of Cairnryan, where ferries to Larne and Belfast carry freight and tourists vital to our economy.
But according to former senior policeman Stephen White, chair the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross Foundation, the routes are in a shocking condition.
"The state of the road is absolutely ridiculous. I'm a motorcyclist myself, and I think someone is going to get killed on that road unless they repair it," he said.
Mr White said he was traveling from Cairnryan to an event at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham when his Volvo hit a potholed stretch of the A75 outside Newtown Stewart, causing £2,000 worth of damage. "We were heading for England, and suddenly bang," he said.
"I knew something expensive had happened. To cut a long story short, I had to buy two new wheels and tyres - £2,100."
Mr White reported the damage to the authorities immediately, expecting eventually to be reimbursed. But within a few days his claim was rejected.
"I appealed that decision, and have now received a letter from the roads people saying: 'Sorry, we don't think we're liable for the damage to your car'," he said.
Mr White is far from happy about the situation, and has now teamed up with MSP Finlay Carson, who is taking a petition to the Scottish Parliament about the state of the road.
"You take you life in your hands on that road on a wet winter's evening," Mr Carson said.
"There are now huge articulated lorries in longer and longer convoys on a road with tight bends, all trying to dodge potholes. It's getting more and more dangerous."
Mr Carson said the A75 had been deteriorating for over a decade.
"The North West 200 weekend is the busiest sailing day of the year - and when you imagine what could happen to a biker if his machine hit a pothole... it doesn't bear thinking about."
He has now launched a petition to press the Scottish Government into upgrading the vital routes.
More than 1,000 people have already signed the A75 petition.
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said it had invested many million of pounds in the two key roads.
"Since 2007, we have invested over £50m in six road improvement projects along the length of the A75, and around £35m in four road improvement projects along the A77, providing additional overtaking opportunities.
"Further planned investment for a bypass at Maybole with estimated constructions costs of £30m will provide better journey time reliability for motorists and businesses accessing Cairnryan.
"This is in addition to over £187m invested in the maintenance and upkeep of the A75, A76 and A77."
Road maintenance contractors Scotland TranServ said: "Scotland TranServ is unable to comment on individual customer claims.
"Our team of Route Inspectors routinely monitor South West Scotland's trunk roads for defects. We encourage customers to contact us directly if they identify any such issues."
The petition is at : tiny.cc/5z1x6y