Plans being drawn up in bid to cut accidents at hospital junction

Council leader David Parker at the junction outside the Borders General Hospital.
Council leader David Parker at the junction outside the Borders General Hospital.
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Traffic signals and a lower speed limit look to be on the way in an effort to cut the number of accidents at the road entrance to the Borders General Hospital at Melrose.

Transport Scotland this week confirmed that new signals and a speed limit reduction on the stretch of the A6091 that passes the hospital would be its prefeered way of tackling problems there.

That decision follows a feasibility study by road management company Amey into ways of easing the difficulties being experienced by motorists at the junction.

Investigations are now taking place to try to determine whether such signals would have the desired effect and if the necessary changes to the junction and the A6091 would be viable.

Transport Scotland hopes to start consultation about its preferred design this month, with final agreement on the confirmed layout, and any changes to be made, by the end of next month.

If agreed, work on improvements to the junction could get under way within months.

NHS Borders would also carry out improvements to the hospital entrance, and Scottish Borders Council would do likewise to the road near the junction.

Council leader David Parker and NHS Borders chairman John Raine have welcomed the proposals put forward by Transport Scotland in response to a joint letter they wrote to then Scottish Government transport minister Derek Mackay in 2015 expressing concern about the junction’s accident record.

Leaderdale and Melrose councillor Mr Parker said: “I am delighted that Transport Scotland has carried out such a comprehensive feasibility study looking at all available options to address concerns at the junction.

“From the draft layouts I have seen, if all the investigations reach a positive conclusion, a very significant scheme will be put in place that will hopefully prevent the accidents and many near misses that take place.

“Although traffic signals are the preferred option, other solutions, such as a roundabout, were carefully considered but have all been deemed unworkable for very sound reasons.

“The scheme which is being developed would be a major investment in accident prevention.”

Mr Raine added: “It is clear that the difficulties at the Borders General Hospital junction have been taken seriously, and the proposals which are emerging are a very welcome step forward in the right direction.

“It is an unwelcome irony that there is a perceived accident blackspot outside the region’s main hospital, and NHS Borders has worked in partnership with the council to try to find a permanent solution to the difficulties experienced at the general hospital, and I am very hopeful that the work is about to come to fruition.

“Staff and visitors to the hospital have consistently raised concerns about the junction’s safety over many years, and I am sure that many people will welcome proposed improvements.”