Funding pledge for vital road linking Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway

Photograph by Ian Georgeson,  The A708 was closed in April this year as a result of subsidence caused by heavy rain and melting snow.
Photograph by Ian Georgeson, The A708 was closed in April this year as a result of subsidence caused by heavy rain and melting snow.

Tweeddale MP David Mundell has hailed a meeting on the A708 Borders route as ‘progress’.

The MP convened it to discuss the state of the tourist route between Moffat and Selkirk.

The scenic route, whilst an important cross-country link, is suffering from under investment, resulting in subsidence and serious potholing.

The road was closed for several days in April after a large section collapsed into a stream, forcing motorists to take lengthy detours.

Now the local MP wants action to bring the busy road up to an acceptable standard, and is calling on the Scottish Government to provide more support to the two affected local councils.

The meeting in Moffat Water Hall was attended by local residents and representatives from the police and Dumfries and Galloway roads and planning departments.

At the meeting the group discussed related issues, road safety and a previous survey of the road carried out over a decade ago.

Council official revealed that they are set to increase funding available for work on the route with £390,000 extra cash being made available for repairs, and a further £50,000 for drainage.

There was also the possibility of more money from a special timber fund.

Afterwards Mr Mundell said: “The announcement of increased funds is a good start. Obviously more needs to be done in the short term it is essential to get this initial wave of investment underway.

“The meeting itself was very positive and brought together all the key stakeholders to make sure everyone is kept fully informed and ensure that we have a plan moving forward.”

“One of the main things to come out of the meeting was the fact that many of the improvements identified in the previous survey simply haven’t been taken forward. Having campaigned on this issue for years now, I am really pleased that we are finally seeing some progress and that the concerns of local people will finally be heard,” he added.

A SBC spokesman said: “The council has previously carried out significant improvements to the A708 in order to bring it up to a suitable standard over large sections within the Scottish Borders.

“We are however very aware that, within the Dumfries and Galloway section in particular, there are still significant restraints on the route and would be supportive of any measures that can improve upon this, as we recognise the A708 is an important link for commuters and commerce in both areas - as well as being a popular tourist route.”