|How Do You Get Out of Here?|
How Do You Get Out of Here?
"Excellent road communications will also be provided by the proposed East Fife regional road which has been planned as one of the main approaches to the Queensferry passage". So said the Secretary of State in his Memorandum to the draft designation order in 1948. He and his successors "missed the boat" by a big margin.
The lack of the regional road for 40+ years was bad enough, but it was used to quash suggestions for other improvements. Whenever it was proposed that any of the accesses from the town to the M90 might be modestly improved, the response was not to be "parochial" and endanger the regional road; then the latter would again be deferred, an outcome which, one suspects, might have been "cooking" behind government curtains all the time.
However, at last the great day arrived with completion and opening on 16th Jifly 1990 of the final phase of the East Fife Regional Road linking Glenrothes with the M90. The benefits do not need to be spelled out.
One longstanding bone of contention was the need for improvement of the Preston/Balfarg section of the A92. The dangerous junctions at Cadham and the need for dualling were repeatedly raised with the authorities. Though matters got to the stage of the design being ratified and shown to the public in 1990, the outlook was still bleak in 1995. The Government announced that there was no money to upgrade the A92; it would be 1997 at the earliest before the road was upgraded. Even that was conditional on money being available and no other trunk schemes being given higher priority.
Other main roads within the town did make progress. October 1987 saw acceptance of a tender for the remaining phases of the Northern Highway Pitcairn Avenue. The town plan had also long shown a "western distributor road" linking the Leslie and Southfield roundabouts, and land had been reserved for the purpose. There was some criticism of the environmental effects but traffic considerations prevailed. Nearing completion in 1995, the road again roused controversy when it was announced that the speed limit would be for the greater part 50mph.
The Secretary of State's 1948 Memorandum envisaged that "the internal road system ... could be so planned as to facilitate a frequent and rapid system of public transport ... to the station at Markinch". In the 1960s there was talk of a new halt near Coaltown of Balgonie, and in 1988 the authorities co-operated to provide new parking and a bus interchange facility at Markinch. In the same year Scotrail proposals for a Fife loop" service raised the prospect of a new halt at Thornton. This was to be the first new station in Fife for 75 years, the cost shared by FRC, Scotrail, the European RDF, and the Corporation. The name "Glenrothes with Thornton" caused some anguish in Thornton with its long railway traditions.