BRITAIN’S most bashed bridge - the Challoch Bridge - is to be bypassed with the start of construction today on a new section of the A75 at Dunragit in Dumfries and Galloway.
The bridge, on the main Dumfries-Stranraer route to the Cairnryan ferry port en route to and from Northern Ireland, has been hit more than 70 times in the last eight years.
In one of the latest incidents, in February, the road was shut and trains halted on the Glasgow-Stranraer line for hours while engineers inspected the bridge following a lorry collision.
It is estimated such collisions cost £700,000 a year in damage and delays.
The £17 million bypass is also designed to improve overtaking opportunities over its 3.3-mile length, to reduce tailbacks.
It forms part of £36m of road improvements in southern Scotland launched today by transport minister Keith Brown and due to be completed next year.
They also include £9m of work also getting under way on a two-mile section of the A75 to improve overtaking between Hardgrove and Kinmont.
In addition, a £10.6m scheme on the A77 at Symington and Bogend Toll in Ayrshire will include improved junctions and bridges.
Mr Brown said: “The new road improvements will enhance journey time reliability and improve safety on the A75 and A77.
“These will bring real improvements on key routes to and from the Cairnryan ports, as well as providing better connections across south west Scotland.”