TRANSPORT chiefs have unveiled £21million plans to build new flyover junctions at key accident blackspots on a lethal stretch of road.
Four firms were yesterday named as selected bidders to carry out the work on the A77 south of Kilmarnock.
The project, which will see gaps in the central reservation closed and replaced with flyover junctions, is a direct response to a series of serious and fatal accidents between Symington and Bogend Toll.
In several cases accidents have been caused by vehicles trying to cross the A77.
The project summary for the work says: "In recent times there have been a number of serious and fatal accidents on this route.
"The number of crossing points and direct accesses to the A77 has been a major cause of these accidents. The scheme will address safety concerns relating to the standard of junctions and accesses along this route."
Work on the scheme is expected to get underway in early 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2014.
Scotland's Transport Minister, Keith Brown announced details of the project, along with plans for two other schemes on the A75 in southern Scotland.
Mr Brown said: "By enhancing routes such as the A75 and the A77, we are making real safety improvements by reducing the frustration often caused by congestion or slow moving traffic.
"By also improving connectivity , we can also make Scotland an attractive option for business, leisure and tourism."
The selected bidders for the A77 scheme are RJ McLeod (Contractors) Ltd; South West Highways; John Paul Construction; Farrans (Construction) Limited.
Alongside these projects, planning is also being taken forward for an upgrade of the A77.
As part of this work, contractor Halcrow has been awarded a £200,000 contract for a study between Meiklewoood and Smithston to identify what upgrades are required to key junctions and links along a 22 mile stretch.
Halcrow's study will consider a range of factors, including the impact of planned developments and current and future traffic levels for the area.
The outcomes of the study will allow Scottish Ministers to be better informed about the required upgrades and the order in which they should be prioritised.