FESTIVE shoppers in Barrhead are set to suffer major travel disruption as one of the busiest roads leading to the town centre will remain closed in the lead-up to Christmas.

Aurs Road will be shut off until December 22 for investigation works between its junctions with Stewarton Road and Springfield Road.

The works, which began last week, are being carried out ahead of the construction of a new road bridge and carriageway realignment works, which will take place in late 2018, with up to a year of further traffic misery on the horizon for motorists.

Barrhead councillor Angela Convery told the Barrhead News: “The problem is with the water tower and Scottish Water need to carry out investigations. It is something they only do once every 10 years, so the council have decided to take advantage of this and close the road at this time.

“The reason that it had to be done now and around Christmas time is that there are other roads which will be closing in the New Year for re-surfacing work, so it was felt it would be too many road closures at the one time.

“I appreciate that it will be an inconvenience, especially for shoppers going to Newton Mearns, but if all the roads had been closed at the one time it would have caused even more chaos.”

Cllr Convery explained that the council would be monitoring the temporary traffic lights at the diversion at Darnley over a three-day period.

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: “The temporary closure of Aurs Road is part of a series of ambitious projects enabled through a £44million Glasgow City Region City Deal investment in the area to improve transport links, increase leisure opportunities, support business growth and create jobs.

“The work will allow for site investigation works for the future construction of a new bridge and carriageway realignment as part of the wider City Deal programme of infrastructure improvements.

“The long-terms benefits to be achieved from improvements to Aurs Road will be of significant benefit to our residents and we thank them for their patience whilst this work is undertaken. We are doing everything to ensure that the works are completed efficiently and that the road is reopened to the public at the earliest opportunity.”

The council explained that this time of year was their only opportunity to carry out the investigation work, despite the expected increase in volume of traffic over the festive period.

The spokesman added: “We appreciate the inconvenience that road closures can cause at any time of the year and due to an ongoing programme of road works throughout the area, this is the only opportunity to programme the ground investigations.

“We have tried to condense works to reduce any later closures, therefore both the council and Scottish Water are taking the opportunity to undertake removal of vegetation, maintenance of roadside verges and surface water drainage and repairs to safety barriers. Scottish Water will also be undertaking their 10-yearly inspection of the embankment dams.”

Subject to current works, the council says Aurs Road will be improved over its 1.3km length in late 2018, with two sections of road realignment, the creation of a new roundabout and the replacement of a road bridge.

The council spokesman added: “These measures will create a safer, more direct route between Barrhead and Newton Mearns for all road users, create continuous pedestrian/cyclist linkages, form safe access to and across the Dams to Darnley Country Park and improve journey times and traffic flow between the communities of Barrhead, Newton Mearns and the M77.

“It is anticipated that this will take between nine months to a year to complete and other local road improvements will have been implemented ahead of this work to relieve pressure on the local road network.”