Construction work to transform a road in East Renfrewshire is underway, with the road now closed for 12 months until December 2024.
The groundbreaking ceremony at Aurs Road between Barrhead and Newton Mearns took place on 12January 2024, with East Renfrewshire Council Leader Owen O’Donnell meeting with civil engineering experts GRAHAM who have been appointed to carry out the works and funding partners Sustrans to celebrate ground being broken on this Glasgow City Region City Deal funded project.
Planned improvements will transform the road from a winding, single carriageway to a safer, straighter road with a new active travel route and waterside promenade overlooking Balgray Reservoir.
Led by East Renfrewshire Council, the £22.68 million project is being funded through £12.72 million from the Glasgow City Region City Deal, which is made up of £5.5 million in funding by both the UK and Scottish governments and £1.72 million from East Renfrewshire Council. The rest of the funding is provided by Transport Scotland through Sustrans’ Places for Everyone programme, the Scottish Government’s Bridge Fund and developer contributions from new house building projects in the area.
Once complete, the planned improvements to Aurs Road will:
- Form a safer, more direct local route between Barrhead and Newton Mearns by straightening out two sections of the road and replacing a weak road bridge
- Create an impressive waterside promenade with views overlooking Balgray Reservoir as part of a 2km active travel path connecting Barrhead and Newton Mearns to and through Dams to Darnley Country Park and providing a safe link for walking, wheeling and cycling
- Create a long-awaited 4km circular walking and cycling route around Balgray Reservoir for park visitors for the first time
- Pave the way for new visitor facilities at Dams to Darnley Country Park
Essential reservoir maintenance works will also be carried out on behalf of Scottish Water while the road closure is in place.
East Renfrewshire Council Leader, Owen O’Donnell, said: “Since announcing our plans for transforming Aurs Road, we’ve had a fantastic response from residents who are excited about the delivery of a much needed improved and straightened road with active travel link. The artist’s impression really helps people visualise what a transformative impact this project will have for generations to come and while the road closure will no doubt cause inconvenience over the next year, the end result really will be worthwhile for all. It’s been fantastic to meet the team from GRAHAM onsite and hear about the significant community benefits they plan to deliver including; jobs for local residents, apprenticeships, work experience, career events and support to local community projects.”
Jim Armour, GRAHAM Contracts Manager, said: “We’re delighted to be officially starting work on transforming Aurs Road – to an improved and straightened road with active travel link. This is a project our team is proud to be delivering, and we recognise the importance it will have for residents and users. We look forward to working collaboratively with East Renfrewshire Council, stakeholders and the local community throughout this scheme – leaving a lasting legacy”.
Karen McGregor, Scotland Director for Sustrans, said: “Improving active travel links between communities outside of our cities is vital. This project does exactly that by delivering an accessible and direct walking, wheeling and cycling link between Barrhead and Newton Mearns for residents and visitors alike. We’re absolutely delighted to see work now starting on this project and grateful to all those who have taken part in making it a success.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord, said: “It’s great news that work is starting on the Aurs Road upgrade. When complete communities will enjoy improved connectivity, safer journeys, better access to Balgray Reservoir and attractive walking and cycling opportunities. The UK Government is supporting the project with £5.5 million investment as part of the £524 million Glasgow City Region Deal. In total we are investing more than £2.9 billion to level up communities across Scotland.”
Scottish Government Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy Secretary, Neil Gray, said: “I welcome the beginning of construction work on an improved and safer walking, wheeling and cycling route through the Glasgow City Region City Deal. Better active travel options can drive a greener economy and help us to reach net-zero by 2045. We want to see more people and businesses benefiting from the regeneration, opportunities and sustainable economic growth which the city deal is delivering.”
Aurs Road is now closed until December 2024 from the junction of Springfield Road in Barrhead to the junction of Stewarton Road in Newton Mearns. Signed diversion routes are in place via Stewarton Road, Nitshill Road and Darnley Road.
The Glasgow City Region City Deal is a £1.13 billion partnership between eight local authorities, the Scottish Government and the UK Government. It includes 27 projects, 21 of them major infrastructure schemes. These will drive economic growth across the City Region and create 15,000 construction jobs while work is underway and 29,000 jobs when work is finished.
As part of the £44 million Glasgow City Region City Deal investment in East Renfrewshire, new business premises and job opportunities have been created and plans are under way to build a new train station in Barrhead and enhance visitor facilities at Dams to Darnley Country Park.
(Picture – GRAHAM)