This week sees the official opening of the long-anticipated Denny Eastern Access Road (DEAR) on Thursday 23 May. The £9.22m infrastructure project aims to reduce congestion and enhance connectivity in the area.

The DEAR project, completed two months ahead of schedule, features a 1.3km local distributor road connecting A872 Glasgow Road with A883 Broad Street. With a 30mph speed limit, the road includes an active travel path that benefits both pedestrians and cyclists.

Pedestrian refuge islands, which create safe waiting areas for crossing the road, have been placed at existing public rights of way and core path locations to ensure safety and accessibility.

One of the key features of the project is the new roundabout, which will provide access to future residential developments, further supporting the growth and development of Denny. New bus lay-bys along the entire length of DEAR, including one outside Denny High School, will further enhance public transport options for residents, staff and pupils.

The project also demonstrates a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. A new culvert has been installed to allow the crossing of Little Denny Burn, complete with an otter pass to protect local wildlife. The project also features a landscaping buffer for the entire length of the road to provide a wildlife corridor connecting existing woodland areas.

The entire road features a Sustainable Urban Drainage System that will manage surface water runoff by mimicking natural processes. Throughout the construction phase, extensive ecology surveys and mitigation measures were implemented to minimise environmental impact.

To ensure road safety, the DEAR project underwent a thorough assessment through three stages of audit.  Air quality monitoring around Denny High School and the town centre is ongoing, with findings expected in late 2024 or early 2025, to evaluate the road's impact on local air quality.

Line of up people on road in hi-vis jackets

Pictured: Members of the project team joined Depute Leader Cllr Paul Garner(middle left) and Leader Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn (middle right) for a final inspection before opening.

Councillor Paul Garner, Depute Leader of Falkirk Council, highlighted the road’s potential to transform daily commutes and overall quality of life in Denny. He said: "This new road is a game-changer for Denny. It not only alleviates traffic congestion but also promotes sustainable transportation options for our residents.

“The completion of the DEAR is a testament to our commitment to improving local infrastructure and enhancing the quality of life for our community."

Funded by housing development and the council’s capital programme, the DEAR project represents the first major new link road to be constructed in the Council area in the past decade and is a significant investment in the town’s infrastructure which will benefit future generations.

Working collaboratively with the Councils Invest Division, RJ MacLeod Ltd, who has previously worked with Falkirk Council on projects such as the Helix and M876 slip road, delivered the main phase of the project on budget and ahead of the original schedule work.

Jamie Corser, Business Development Manager for RJ McLeod Ltd, expressed pride in contributing to this milestone. He said: “Working on the DEAR project has been a significant achievement for us. It’s been a pleasure collaborating with Falkirk Council and seeing the positive impact this road will have on the local community."

In addition to its transport benefits, the DEAR project has brought several community benefits. RJ McLeod has taken on three full-time employees from the local area, hosted a careers event at Denny Primary School, provided Construction Skills Certification Scheme training to 10 students at Denny High School, and supported two local social enterprises. The company also made a financial donation to Strathcarron Hospice, underlining its commitment to the community.