South Scotland

A75 Hardgrove to Kinmount improvement works announced

A stretch of the A75 in southern Scotland is to be upgraded after a spate of crashes - including one which claimed a baby's life.

There have been repeated calls for improvements to the Hardgrove to Kinmount section of the road.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the works would start at the "turn of the year" and cost about £20m.

Dumfriesshire constituency Labour MSP Elaine Murray welcomed the move as a victory for "people power".

A local newspaper campaign has gathered more than 4,000 signatures on a petition seeking an upgrade.

She said she was among many people - including the parents of a three-week-old boy killed in a crash - who had been pressing for improvements "for many years".

Ms Murray said: "It is tragic that lives have been lost and people seriously injured on this stretch of road over the years.

"I would like to pay tribute in particular to Oliver Hewson's brave family, who have campaigned for this improvement despite their terrible loss."

South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said she was delighted the money had been found for the "vital upgrade".

"The Scottish government has listened to the concerns of local people, campaigners and politicians of every party and today it has acted," she said.

"I know this announcement will be widely welcomed by anyone who uses the A75."

Dumfriesshire Conservative MP David Mundell said he was pleased that "common sense" had prevailed.

He added: "As this project goes ahead we should all pause to remember those for whom this announcement came too late and in particular their families who have fought so hard to prevent further fatalities."

Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume described the news as a "victory for local people" who had "campaigned hard" to get the work done.

Dumfries and Galloway Council depute leader Brian Collins said: "This is great news in terms of road safety, economic regeneration, and the ongoing improvement of the A75 Euro Route.

"This project will be warmly welcomed by our local communities."

Transport Minister Keith Brown said the work could start "almost immediately".

"We have witnessed some tragic accidents on the A75 in recent months, none more tragic than the death of a three-week-old baby," he said.

"My deepest sympathies are with the parents, family and friends at what must continue to be an extremely difficult and emotional time for them.

"As a government we have listened to the views expressed by campaigners, by the local media, and all of those who wanted to see this scheme progress, that funding be found, and I hope confirmation of this today has shown that we have also acted."

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