On the road to disrepair

Selkirk potholes on A7 - winter 2009
Selkirk potholes on A7 - winter 2009

MORE than 150 kilometres of the Borders’ A-class roads may require repairs, according to a national report, writes Kenny Paterson.

Scottish Transport Statistics for 2009/10 has also revealed that 38 per cent of all of the region’s road network is rated as needing at least further investigation to establish if treatment is needed, with seven per cent having deteriorated “to the point where repairs are likely to be required to prolong its future life.”

Broken down into classifications, 25 per cent of the 618 kilometres of A class roads in the region need to be considered for some form of maintenance, compared to a national average of 30 per cent.

However, 39 per cent of B-class routes were adjudged to at least need further investigation, in comparison to the Scottish percentage of 35. C class (36 per cent) and unclassified (44 per cent) roads in the Borders also fared worse off than the national averages.

Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont has called for the Scottish Government’s new transport minister Keith Brown to provide support to halt any further deterioration in the state of the region’s roads.

“After the recent severe weather in the Borders our roads have taken quite a battering, so it is even more concerning that over a third of the road network already required maintenance before the snow and ice hit,” said Mr Lamont.

“Letting roads deteriorate to this level can only lead to greater long-term costs, particularly in the Borders where residents and businesses rely on road travel so much.

“The Scottish Government has shown an alarming lack of foresight in allowing our roads to get to such a dreadful state of disrepair, especially when it is drivers who suffer. I hope our new transport minister will act swiftly before the situation is allowed to deteriorate any further.”

He added: “The Borders is a largely rural area and relies on a well-maintained road network to enable people in the more remote areas to get about.

“The Scottish Government must do more to support Scottish Borders Council with their road maintenance work.”