Green light for new road improvements
Plans for a new A701 relief road and A702 spur road have come a step closer, following the decision by Midlothian Council to approve spending of £1.4 million on preparatory works for the project.
Relieving traffic congestion
The Midlothian Local Development Plan includes proposals for a new road to relieve traffic congestion on the existing A701 and to provide a new link road between the A703 and the A702. The existing A701 would be upgraded as a primary route for public transport, walking and cycling, while the new A702 spur road would provide improved access from the strategic road network to the Easter Bush campus, where major science-based academic, research and manufacturing premises are located.
The preparatory works, which will include a comprehensive ground conditions survey and other technical work, will be fully funded by financial contributions from developers, such as house builders, who were required to provide this funding as part of local planning agreements. There will be no cost to the council.
City Region Deal funding
It is also expected that the A701/A702 construction scheme will receive some funding through the recently announced Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, supported by the Scottish and UK governments.
Work to begin this autumn
The preparatory work is expected to begin this autumn and will involve working with Transport Scotland, as the trunk roads authority, as the proposed scheme links into a trunk road at each end (the A720 bypass and A702 road).
Decision to proceed welcomed
Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for Communities and Economy, Councillor Russell Imrie, welcomed the decision to proceed with the project.
“This decision will be widely welcomed by residents and road users, as well as those who rely on public transport or are cyclists or walkers,” said Councillor Imrie. “It has long been recognised that there is a need to make improvements to the A701, which is why developers in that area have been required to make a financial contribution towards the work. Any future developments in the A701 corridor will also be expected to contribute towards the road improvements.
New access to Easter Bush
“The new access to Easter Bush, and to the business and research facilities based there, will also help provide a boost to the Midlothian economy and the wider region.”