Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance

Transport in the Glenrothes Area

Pre-Appraisal Report

This report has been prepared for the Glenrothes Area Futures Group by John Morton, B.Sc.Econ, PGCE, M.Sc., a former member of the Rail Users’ Consultative Committee and Rail Passengers’ Committee for North East England

0: Abstract

This report analyses the transport problems in the Glenrothes area, considers the opportunities presented by other transport schemes and proceeds to develop a variety of possible solutions and part-solutions to the problems. The objective is to find a suitable combination of options that will provide a long-term, sustainable solution for the transport needs of the Glenrothes area.

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1: Introduction

The objective of this report is to examine the options for improving transport in the Glenrothes area of Fife. The prime motivation for this is the perceived inadequacy of the trunk road in the area (the A92T), but, as transport is (or should be) an integrated process, the report will not restrict itself merely to the A92T – or, indeed, merely to road transport.

Before commencing a detailed analysis of the particular problems facing the Glenrothes area, it is apposite to place the area in context. Glenrothes was conceived as a mining town in central Fife but the early failure of the Rothes Colliery brought about a change of direction. It quickly developed into the industrial heart of Fife and also took on the mantle of Fife’s administrative centre. These features still very much define the town today.

While future development envisages a shift away from manufacturing into service industries, it is likely that Glenrothes will remain very much the manufacturing centre of Fife, although also developing service industries.

Major employers in the area include Fife Council, Raytheon (electronics), Tullis Russell (paper), Semefab, Velux and Amazon Books (service industry). There are also many smaller concerns, both service and manufacturing, in the town’s various industrial and business parks.

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Retail activity has tended to trail the other commercial sectors. However, it seems that this is now changing, with at least two developments of large and multiple retail units now coming to the town. Indeed, it is partly because of these imminent large-scale retail arrivals that the transport infrastructure needs serious consideration.

Further general factors that should be borne in mind include the removal of road tolls from the Forth and Tay Road Bridges and the additional road bridges under construction or agreed at Kincardine and Queensferry.

Aside from road transport, it would be well to note that the rail network in Fife is not fit for modern rail transport. To illustrate this, it takes a fast train roughly the same time to travel between Edinburgh and Dundee as it does to travel between Edinburgh and Newcastle, although the track distance between the former is only half the latter. Also, while two of Fife’s three largest towns are on the rail network (Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy), Glenrothes is not. Its nearest railheads are Markinch (for passengers) and Thornton (for freight).

Current road access between Glenrothes and its railheads is not easy. The vast bulk of Glenrothes is situate to the west of the A92T, while Markinch Station is to the east. Currently, travelling between the two involves negotiating this trunk road, usually at the Prestonhall Roundabout and/or the Tullis Russell Roundabout. As for Thornton, while there is quite a good road past the goods yards there (Strathore), it is not at all well linked with Glenrothes. The journey between the two involves negotiating either Thornton or Kinglassie Main Street. Thus, any carbon offset that may be gained by railing goods to Thornton would be severely compromised by the increase in noxious diesel fumes in central Thornton and Kinglassie.

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It should also be noted that Kirkcaldy, while it has adequate rail passenger facilities, would also be reliant upon Thornton Yards for a freight facility. Road links between Kirkcaldy and Thornton Yards are, if anything, even worse than those between Glenrothes and Thornton Yards, involving also crossing the A92T, probably at Red House Roundabout.

Thus, while putting freight onto rail is, in general, a good idea, it would be ineffective to attempt this to serve Fife’s two largest towns without a significant improvement in the road infrastructure to go with it.

The removal of bridge tolls into Fife is already increasing the amount of road traffic on the A90/M90, the A92 and associated feeder roads. In addition, the Dunfermline area is currently being heavily developed as Edinburgh commuterland. Even without the necessity posed by weakness developing in the Forth Road Bridge, an additional Forth crossing is needed in the Queensferry area. The Forth Bridges – both road and rail – are traffic bottlenecks and can’t take much more. And, of course, with a new crossing come new problems – and new opportunities.

One opportunity that has not been considered is that of using the new crossing as a springboard from which to run a new rail route through Fife. As was mentioned earlier, the railways in Fife are currently unfit for purpose, still following the routes hacked out in the 19th Century and forming more of a patchwork quilt than a cohesive network.

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For instance, the present main line descends steeply from the Forth Bridge to Inverkeithing. There, there is a sharp right turn where a link was hurriedly constructed between Inverkeithing and Burntisland (the original line from Dundee terminated at Burntisland ferry port). At Burntisland itself, because of this patch, there is a very sharp curve. Then one comes to the Kinghorn Tunnel: it didn’t quite meet in the middle, so it has a nasty kink in it (and a severe speed restriction because of that). There is another moderately sharp curve at Thornton, where the line swerved right because the Earl of Leslie didn’t want a railway near his house. After that comes an appreciable climb up to Muirhead/Kirkforthar, followed by an equally noticeable drop down to Ladybank.

So, while it is the case that Fife is “lumpy”, with its main valleys running west to east, the parlous nature of its rail network is far from being entirely due to geography.

One option that may be considered, therefore, is the re-routing of the main line in Fife, in order to provide a more direct link between Edinburgh and Dundee, with fewer sharp bends and steep gradients – and also providing a major passenger station in Glenrothes.

However, just as canals in the 18th Century and railways in the 19th – and, indeed, aeroplanes in the 20th - did not replace the need for road transport, so they are not going to now. Roughly speaking, the road network has grown, in both extent and in quality, in proportion with the population, regardless of other means of transport. Buses, cars and bicycles can get to places that other transport cannot – or to places so low in population that it would not be feasible to provide non-road transport for them. While one would hope to encourage the use of railheads etc., the prospect of, say, driving 5 km to a station or ferry terminal, catching a train or boat for the next 5 km and then catching a bus to go the last 5 km is not an attractive one when the entire journey can be driven or bussed in one go. Trains, boats and planes only really come into their own either
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  1. when they directly link both ends of a journey (unlikely),
  2. when the journey involves an appreciable distance or
  3. when there is no option.

One of the main intentions of the Scottish Government is to “go green”, i.e. to reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint appreciably. Knowing that motor vehicles contribute substantially to “greenhouse gases”, it is, thus, right to consider any proposed road development very carefully. For once a road has been built it will be used and fuel the demand for more roads (how many lanes does London’s M25 now have?). So, rather than merely stating “this road needs improvement”, all the alternatives that might deal with the problem need to be examined, together with the likely implications of each in the longer term.

The foregoing has given a flavour of the problems currently facing transport in the Glenrothes area, together with a cursory tour round relevant parts of Fife. Also, it has outlined the need for an integrated solution, i.e. one in which all forms of transport work in harmony to solve the problems. In the third section various possibilities will be looked at in more detail.

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2: The Problem

As was mentioned in the Introduction, the problem facing the Glenrothes area is primarily one of road congestion. This, in turn, makes Glenrothes a less attractive place in which to work, to shop or to follow leisure pursuits. But the main drawback is that this has repercussions for inward investment.

There is currently considerable unused freight capacity in the Thornton Yards. These yards were designed as a hub for a thriving mining industry, one whose only remnants now are a couple of open-cast operations. However, as was also mentioned in the Introduction, the infrastructure to connect these yards to the nearby large towns (Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy) is woefully inadequate. The prospect of using this facility for large-scale rail-to-road freight transport is thus, at present, remote.

Road links into the area from the west are, by and large, adequate. Once the bottleneck of the Forth Road Bridge has been negotiated, the current M90/A92 route is fit for purpose – as far as the Red House Roundabout. At this point – and onwards all the way to the Tay Road Bridge – there are problems.

The Red House Roundabout itself has a severe conflict of movements. Its main movements are:

  1. Kirkcaldy – Glenrothes and beyond
  2. Forth Bridge/Dunfermline – eastern Kirkcaldy
  3. Methil/Buckhaven – Forth Bridge/Dunfermline
  4. Glenrothes and beyond – Forth Bridge
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This is not helped by the fact that the Methil/Buckhaven road (Standing Stane Road) has no direct link with this interchange. However, merely to provide such a direct link, without considerable additional infrastructure upgrades, would do nothing to ease the conflict.

Another roundabout with considerable conflict of movement, almost on the same scale as the Red House Roundabout, is the Prestonhall Roundabout, where the A92T crosses the main Leven-Glenrothes-Kinross road (A911), as well as having an additional local turning to serve Woodside and Eastfield Industrial Estate. Indeed, coming from the north, to turn right at this roundabout from the A92T to get to central Glenrothes is so time-consuming at peak hours that most drivers use the Balfarg Junction.

And that junction is completely inadequate. It is a commonplace, at peak hours, to see traffic queuing back from that junction all the way to New Inn Roundabout. It is not even a roundabout. Of the daily average of around 30,000 vehicles travelling from New Inn to Balfarg, over one third (10,000) turn right at this junction. It is a major intersection, not just a country lane that happens to cross the A92T at that point.

The road these vehicles turn into, Western Avenue, was designed as a dual carriageway – but only one carriageway has ever been built. Thus it, too – together with the A911 that crosses it at Leslie Roundabout – gets hopelessly congested at peak hours.

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This can be contrasted with the road from the Bankhead Roundabout to Kinglassie and beyond. This road is dual carriageway, also having a split-level intersection where it crosses the main road fringing Glenrothes to the west, as far as Fife Airport. Its only notable congestion point is at the aforementioned Bankhead Roundabout, where it meets the A92T – with no split-level provision.

Turning now to rail transport, but this time from a passenger viewpoint, it was mentioned in the Introduction that Glenrothes has no station. There is, indeed, a station with the name “Glenrothes with Thornton”, but this (as the name suggests) is actually in Thornton – and on the south side of Thornton (furthest from Glenrothes) at that. The proof of the pudding is in the patronage. The only people who use this station regularly are those who stay in and around Thornton, as evidenced by the almost empty station car park. Thornton is not easy to get to from Glenrothes, the two main routes being (a) through residential Stenton or (b) crossing he A92T at Bankhead Roundabout. Without significant road infrastructure improvements, people from Glenrothes will continue to shun the station that bears its name. Also, the fact that Thornton has no fast train services does not encourage use, e.g., for commuting to Dundee or Edinburgh.

Markinch Station, on the other hand, does have fast trains between Dundee and Edinburgh, a more frequent service generally, and is actually physically considerably nearer the heart of Glenrothes than Thornton Station. However, the problems of accessing Markinch from Glenrothes have already been alluded to in the Introduction: they boil down to having to cross the A92T. Indeed, the A92T is such a problem, e.g. as regards predictability of timing, that the main bus routes between Markinch and Glenrothes avoid it, running through Woodside and Auchmuty on a local road that passes underneath the A92T with no intersection. This, however, involves routing through residential areas, such as Alburne Park and Coaltown of Balgonie, and is not a solution that would be appropriate for a large volume of traffic.

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Large areas of northern Glenrothes can, at peak times, become virtually isolated. To the east, there are no road links whatsoever anyway, and the same is true to the south. There is one road that links to the south-east, Cadham Road. But, as that links directly onto the A92T, without even a roundabout, hold-ups at peak periods are very time-consuming. To the west, there are two links – with flat roundabouts – onto the Western Avenue. This is the road, planned as a dual carriageway but built only with a single carriageway, that forms the main link between Glenrothes and the northern A92T. Thus, these exits are also prone to get jammed at peak periods.

Finally, it is appropriate to mention that the Leven is an appreciable river, which has in the past been extensively milled (i.e. much water is diverted along mill lades to power mills – and still in use for a small hydro-electric plant below Markinch). The flow in this river is to some extent controlled by the exit sluices from Loch Leven, thus it is possible almost to guarantee a certain minimum volume of water passing through between Auchmuirbridge and Levenmouth. However, the possibility of using the river for barges, e.g. to transport paper from Tullis Russell to Methil Docks or biomass in the reverse direction, has never been considered. It is feasible, and maybe should be considered.

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3: Possible Solutions

At the outset, it must be stated that no single project will tackle all of the problems. Rather, a working solution will have several strands to it, in order to make best use of all forms of transport.

In the Introduction, the possibility was mentioned of a new rail alignment through Fife. The main problem with such a solution, of course, would be finding the land on which to build such an alignment. And it would not be a cheap option.

Broadly speaking, this would involve constructing a railway, either from the present North Queensferry Tunnel or from a new Forth bridgehead, to run above the M90 (to avoid the precipitous, in rail terms, drop down to Inverkeithing), leaving it north of Inverkeithing, on a viaduct near the present M90 viaduct, into the hills, tunnelling underneath Crossgates, joining the present Fife Circle route a little west of Cowdenbeath, leaving it again east of Cowdenbeath, passing by Kinglassie, then underneath Glenrothes (with a major new station beneath the present Glenrothes Bus Station), over the Leven, under Cadham and Balfarg, to rejoin the present main line around Kirkforthar/Muirhead.

Such a line, by avoiding the various bits of shoddy construction, foibles and sharply curving links of the present main line, would offer a considerably faster and smoother route through Fife. It would also give Glenrothes a fully integrated transport hub right in the town centre.

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However, this would be a very costly project. While it would undoubtedly bring enormous benefits to rail travellers on the East Coast Main Line north of Edinburgh (e.g. long-distance travel to or from Aberdeen and Dundee) – to say nothing of the 40,000 or so inhabitants of the Glenrothes area – the project is of such a scale that it could only really be justified if funding were secured from Westminster and/or Brussels. The route, after all, is one that extends well beyond Scotland and can be considered as a major European rail artery.

Another drawback of proposing this as “the solution” is that it would do little to combat the congestion on the main roads. The little it would do is (a) to increase rail patronage in the Glenrothes area (but not enough to have a significant impact on road congestion) and (b) to swap the “Glenrothes to Markinch Station” problem for a “Markinch to Glenrothes Station” problem – less traffic, but still a problem.

A far more affordable rail solution, with the specific local problems in mind, would be to construct a light-rail system linking Glenrothes with Markinch Station. As a minimum, this would be a link between Glenrothes town centre (with readily available bus interchange) and Markinch Station. It is, however, likely that such a system would extend to serve other areas in and around Glenrothes, e.g. Leslie, Tanshall, South Parks, Pitteuchar, Thornton. Indeed, were a new town on the scale of Glenrothes to be planned today, it is highly likely that such a light-rail system would be expected.

This also has problems, of course. While there are old trackbeds from Markinch, these skirt southern Glenrothes to reach Leslie and also run to the Tullis Russell paper works, which is situate in the Leven Valley at an appreciably lower level than the adjoining Glenrothes town centre. On leaving these old trackbeds, one would be faced with either constructing new routes or of running along roadways (as is done in central Manchester by its light-rail system). The former involves land grab in a somewhat constrained area (a town centre), while the latter would bring road and rail vehicles into conflict.

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But the main problem with positing this as “the solution” is that it would do little for communications between Glenrothes and the area beyond the light-rail system. That, very largely, would still be road-borne. Thus, whether such a scheme is adopted or not, there are still major transport problems to be dealt with.

Starting to look at road solutions, the driving force behind this appraisal relates to the interaction between the A92T and the Glenrothes area. It would, therefore, be apposite to consider what could be done with the A92T itself to try to deal with the problem.

One possible solution would be to move the A92T elsewhere. Indeed, if one examines a road map of Fife, one will see that the A92 runs west-east from the M90 (Halbeath/Crossgates) as far as the Red House Roundabout, then south-north from there to Ladybank, then more-or-less southwest-northeast to the Tay Road Bridge and beyond.

It is, perhaps, pertinent to recall that the original A92 ran through Aberdour, Burntisland and Kinghorn, onto the Kirkcaldy Esplanade, then changing direction to run through Sinclairton to what is now the Red House Roundabout (but was not then) and on through Thornton and Woodside to join its present route just north of the Prestonhall Roundabout. In other words, the new route from Crossgates was designed to bypass the coastal settlements. And, in that, it does an excellent job.

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However, the fact that the new route reached the A92 at Red House, a kilometre or so north of the old Standing Stane junction off the original A92, contributes in no small measure to the Red House Roundabout congestion prevalent today. In addition, that roundabout (rather than the Ravenscraig/Dysart junction) now marks a “corner” in the road, where it changes from west-east to south-north.

Two possible options for “moving the road somewhere else” that should be looked at are these:

  1. Cutting off the “corner”: having a more direct route between, e.g., Cluny Junction and New Inn Roundabout
  2. Turning the “corner” into a far more sweeping affair, i.e. continuing the A92T easterly, gradually turning northerly, to
    1. link with the Standing Stane Road;
    2. pass Coaltown of Balgonie and Markinch on the other side; and
    3. to rejoin the present route near New Inn Roundabout
Both of the above have the benefits of making such pinch-points as the Bankhead Roundabout, the Prestonhall Roundabout, Cadham Road End and Balfarg Junction far more acceptable, without much (if any) need for further works at them, as the through A92T traffic will no longer be using them. However, there are drawbacks.

The principal drawback, apart from the cost, is the need for land grab. Bearing in mind the comments earlier about land grab in relation to a new rail route, it should be recalled that a dual carriageway occupies roughly three times as much space as a two-track railway line. It is also more expensive to construct.

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Also, one needs to consider what land would be grabbed. With option (a) above, the grab would involve some not very interesting, but agriculturally productive, land between Kinglassie and Thornton. Depending on the route chosen, it may also impact on Fife Airport. And, if it is thought best to skirt north of Leslie, the grab would run past the very attractive Coul Reservoir area, beneath the East Lomond.

Option (b) starts off rather better, as much of the land east of Red House Roundabout has been recently quarried for coal. However, one is then faced with the problem of passing Balgonie Castle, probably driving a trunk road between Milton and Coaltown of Balgonie. North of that the route would impinge upon the probable site (yet to be archaeologically investigated) of the historic Dalginch, thence through the area of outstanding natural beauty between Markinch and Cuinin Hill. Not only that but, in terms of distance, it would be appreciably longer than the present A92T route.

Another possibility would be to keep the A92T broadly where it is, but to upgrade the various intersections and to dual the road between Prestonhall Roundabout and Balfarg Junction. On this, various minor works are already proposed, e.g. putting traffic lights in to control Bankhead Roundabout and Prestonhall Roundabout. However, this will not ease the problem: it merely regulates it. A realistic solution must involve the provision of split-level intersections at these roundabouts, as is already the case at every intersection on the road as far as Red House Roundabout.

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Also, such an upgrade would not have a lot of point to it unless the Balfarg Junction were similarly treated, i.e. turned into a split-level interchange. The need for that should be apparent from the previous section.

Another problem with this solution is the actual route between the Tullis Russell Roundabout and the Balfarg Junction. The present route, with its sharp curve just north of Cadham Road End, is a major cause of danger and delay (lack of visibility) at Cadham Road End. But a route that deals with that curve appropriately would either (i) involve extensive land grab in the historic Balbirnie Country Park or (ii) involve the demolition of a large number of houses in Balfarg. Neither of these is likely to be politically acceptable.

The major cost of roadway construction, as envisaged in the above and the preceding options (a) and (b), is the provision of split-level interchanges. It is unlikely that either (a) or (b) would necessitate any more of these than merely upgrading the present route. Thus, the cost difference between (i) a completely new route and (ii) upgrading the present route is not actually that great.

There are, of course, a number of less major works that should be considered. However, it would be unwise to agree to any of these until they can be set in the context of a long-term solution to the transport needs of the area.

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One example where this has not been the case is the Balfarg Junction. This junction was known to be dangerous and inadequate, so at least three attempts have been made over the past decade to render it safer and more fit for purpose. However, not one of these has addressed the principal problem with this intersection, namely that a significant proportion of southbound traffic turns right into Western Avenue. Unless the A92T is routed elsewhere, this problem will remain until, at the very minimum, a roundabout is installed there. Thus, the question of what to do about the Balfarg Junction hangs on what is to be done with the A92T as a whole.

This is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. Effectively, no decision about the Balfarg Junction can be taken until the future of the A92T in the area is agreed. Meanwhile, those who live and work in Glenrothes suffer, as do the economic prospects of the town.

With this caveat, it is now time to look at relatively minor works. It was earlier mentioned that the possibility of Thornton Yards becoming a major freight depot for the area is severely hampered by the present road infrastructure – in layman’s terms, it’s hard to get from the Thornton Yards to either Glenrothes or Kirkcaldy. It would, therefore, be an enormous boost to getting freight off the roads if better road links could be arranged in that area.

If, for instance, option (a) above is considered, the new route for the A92T (passing west of Glenrothes) could be planned to offer an interchange with Thornton Yards. Thus, by integrating rail freight with the new alignment, two birds are killed with one stone.

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If option (a) is not chosen, then it will be necessary, at the minimum, to build a new road by-passing Thornton and linking with the Kinglassie Road. Otherwise, the concept of a freight terminal at Thornton Yards is a non-starter.

As for the Red House Roundabout, if option (b) above is chosen, the desired link to Standing Stane Road will be in place anyway. If option (a) is chosen, there will be significantly less traffic at Red House Roundabout, meaning that a flat-level connection between Standing Stane Road and the roundabout would work reasonably well. If neither option is chosen, any such link will need to come with a split-level intersection. Again, what to do with the Red House Roundabout is totally dependent upon the vision for the A92T as a whole.

It is also appropriate to consider what might happen to the A92T north of New Inn Roundabout (and, indeed, at it). At present, the A92T becomes a single carriageway at New Inn Roundabout. While most northbound A92T traffic continues on it, a significant proportion turns left (to access Falkland, Strathmiglo and Perth) and turns right (to access Cupar and St. Andrew’s). Conversely, the three southbound flows merge at this point. Very little traffic actually crosses the A92T here: most westbound Cupar traffic, for instance, crosses the A92T at its intersection with the A91T (Stirling to St. Andrew’s road).

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However, while the volume of traffic on the A92T decreases markedly north of New Inn Roundabout, it is still appreciable. It would be appropriate to remind oneself that the A92T proceeds through the Howe of Fife, a very rich agricultural area. Of necessity, this means that the road is often used by agricultural machinery. As a minimum, it would be appropriate to provide some short stretches of dual carriageway between New Inn and the Tay Road Bridge, though the case for complete dualling may not currently be strong enough to justify the cost. And, indeed, it would involve grabbing some very fertile land.

There are, though, several intersections that need some attention. The principal one is that between the A92T and the A91T, with the Parbroath Junction a close second. At present, that has more the flavour of two quiet country lanes crossing – rather than two heavily-used roads – and is very dangerous.

This appraisal would not be complete without considering the possibility of a rail link between Thornton North Junction and Leven. This is because such a project is currently under consideration.

The likely impact of such a link on the Glenrothes area is probably best described as “marginal”. The only part of the area likely to benefit from such a link is the village of Thornton, which would enjoy a direct rail link with the Levenmouth conurbation. But, as has been stated above, Thornton is not well linked with the rest of the Glenrothes area, so the existence of such a link is unlikely either to encourage Glenrothians to visit Levenmouth or vice versa.

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What may happen is that people who currently drive or bus to Markinch from the Levenmouth area to get a train may no longer do so. However, most custom for Markinch Station comes from Markinch itself, Glenrothes and nearby places that are considerably closer to it than they are to Leven or Cameron Brig (the proposed stations on the line).

In other words, while the proposed link would be an obvious benefit for the Levenmouth area, it will do nothing to alleviate congestion problems in the Glenrothes area. It may make the idea of building a direct link between Red House Roundabout and the Standing Stane Road slightly less attractive, but even that is highly doubtful.

Another matter to consider is the proposed biomass generator at Tullis Russell. This will involve roughly 200 lorryloads of biomass coming into Tullis Russell every day, which will (a) significantly exascerbate the present congestion problems in the area and (b) add appreciably to wear and tear of roads there. It is understood that the preferred option was for the biomass to be transported in by rail. However, with a large and well-used car park now sitting astride the old track bed from Markinch, this would not be a cheap option. As was mentioned earlier, there may be a possibility of a water-borne solution, using aspects of the already partially canalised and regulated Leven. The Leven itself could be accessed from the sea (Levenmouth/Methil Docks), or from the old Smith Anderson site (off the Western Avenue/Leslie Road) or at Loch Leven (off the M90).

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4: Costs and benefits

It was estimated, in 2006, that deficiencies in transport infrastructure were costing Britain around £17,000 million every year1. Considering that Fife has roughly 1/200 of the population of Britain, this translates into a figure of £85 million a year for Fife. For the Glenrothes area alone, this would be in excess of £10 million a year.

Set against that, it is estimated that the cost of three-lane motorway construction is around £25 million a mile2 (say, £15 million a kilometre). This would include all features, e.g. hard shoulder, embankments and cuttings, split-level interchanges and the usual bridges and tunnels needed to prevent overly frequent interaction with the rest of the road network.

It is likely that both of these figures (cost of infrastructure inadequacy and cost of infrastructure provision) will rise roughly in line with inflation, so it may be valid to consider the relative costs.

While it is not envisaged that works to the A92 would turn it into a motorway, it would be appropriate to include allowances for grade separated junctions etc. The cost of such a road, being for the most part only two lanes each carriageway (rather than three), might work out at about two-thirds of the cost of a three-lane motorway, e.g. roughly £10 million a kilometre at the prices quoted.

That is, one kilometre of “improved A92” would pay for itself, in relieving the infrastructure inadequacies around Glenrothes, in just one year. As the total distance under consideration amounts to some 10 kilometres, a new Glenrothes bypass, running at near motorway standard between Cluny Junction and New Inn Roundabout, would cover its costs – just considering the Glenrothes area alone – within 10 years.

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5: Summary

The foregoing report has analysed the transport problems facing the Glenrothes area, together with consideration of opportunities that may be presented, e.g., by the construction of a new Forth crossing at Queensferry. It has set the context very clearly, together with stating the desired objectives (a long-term, sustainable solution to transport problems in the Glenrothes area). It has considered a variety of options and has done some preliminary sifting and development of those options. In addition, it has stressed the importance of finding a solution appropriate for all modes of transport, rather than one based upon, e.g., consideration of the needs of motorists alone.

While it has put forward various pros and cons for various options (or combinations of options), it has not ruled anything out. However, it has made the point that no solution can work in isolation: transport is about communication and transport planning needs to consider carefully the wider impact of any proposed scheme.

6: Notes

1: BBC survey, 2006

2: British Chambers of Commerce, 2007

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