THE authority responsible for delivering the return of trains to the Borders for the first time in over 40 years have admitted there will be increased traffic on the A7 during the construction phase of the project, writes Kenny Paterson.
Around 70 people visited Network Rail’s drop in session in Stow Town Hall on Monday, while 230 people attended Old Gala House on Tuesday night to see the plans for the £300million scheme.
One issue to come out of discussions with members of the public – also brought up at last week’s Eildon Area Forum – was the affect on the road network when the building of the railway begins early next year.
Network Rail’s communications manager Craig Bowman said: “It is unavoidable that there will be an increased number of articulated vehicles using the A7 to get to access points along the railway route.
“But we won’t know exact figures until next year.”
Mr Bowman added that Network Rail officials, who were joined by the British Transport Police, had been taken aback by the numbers who have taken in the community sessions thus far.
He added: “We have had a huge amount of interest and we have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people we have had through the doors. There have been some negative comments, as you would expect, but I would say around 80 per cent have been positive.”
Mr Bowman said Network Rail would attempt to inform residents living close to the new line if unexpected works were to take place over the next two years.
“We found when constructing the Airdrie to Bathgate link that people became annoyed when they were not informed of works taking place near their homes, so we aim to regularly communicate with members of the public throughout the construction phase,” he added.
Network Rail take their roadshow to Dalkeith on Monday and Danderhall on Tuesday before returning to the Borders for sessions at Langlee Community Centre next Thursday, November 29, from 4.30pm to 8pm, and Tweedbank Community Centre on Tuesday, December 4, from 4pm to 8pm.
Network Rail took over the Borders Railway project earlier this month, following a ceremony in Newtongrange, which saw Scottish Transport Secretary Keith Brown sign an agreement to transfer responsibility to the government quango.
The target for completion of the 35-mile line remains late 2014 but the terms of the contract mean it is more likely to be summer 2015.