John Campbell – A77 Action Group – 9 July 2019
John Campbell is an articulate, plain speaking Ayrshire man with a wealth of facts at his fingertips in all matters relating to the history, economy and safety of the A77 through South Ayrshire and beyond. His talk to the club, with no prompts or illustrations except a big road map of Scotland, demonstrated his confidence in his knowledge of his subject.
John heads the small A77 Action Group set up to lobby government for much-needed improvements to the A77 trunk road between Whitletts in Ayr and the A75 south of Cairnyan. Safer communities and more jobs is their warcry.
John began by describing how the A77 was crucial not just to the economy of the south-west but to the whole of the Scottish central belt and Northern Ireland where many hundreds of jobs depended on a safe and reliable transport link to and from the ferry port at Cairnryan. According to John, the A77 has the most restrictive speed-limiting sections on the national highway network and forty years of neglect has already resulted in some businesses closing or relocating. The road is vulnerable to enforced temporary closures with lengthy diversions due to its “un-engineered” construction and its narrow width. Accident statistics are also revealing and, in John’s opinion, should justify a larger share of the transport budget for the south-west than the current, paltry 0.04%. The active-travel budget (walking and cycling) is similarly, disproportionately constrained.
The A77 Action Group would like to see the road upgraded to dual-carriageway over its entire length but John blamed a lack of strong politician support over the years in the south-west for such improvement.
Brian Strathern thanked John for his entertaining and instructive talk.