A7 repair cash warning issued by councillor

Borders Railway construction traffic on the A7
Borders Railway construction traffic on the A7

A Galashiels councillor has warned colleagues that SBC may face a large part of the repair bill to fix the A7 after the railway is constructed.

Sandy Aitchison brought fellow councillors down to earth with a bump at last week’s budget meeting after several spoke of their delight at roads in their wards being allocated cash in the capital budget.

Mr Aitchison said damage to both the A68 and A7 would need to be looked at after the railway is finished.

“There will be a huge amount of repair work required on the carriageway, particularly on the A7, and on the roads that join it, as some are in an absolutely dreadful state,” he said.

“I sincerely hope that the Scottish Government will come in on that, as it has been a Network Rail/Transport Scotland project that’s created the damage, so I hope we get some money from them to repair that damage.”

He added: “There may be a big lump of money required, certainly up the A7 corridor.”

A council spokesman told The Southern: “Staff are regularly monitoring the condition of the A7 and other routes being used to haul construction materials to various sites.

“Discussions have been held between SBC and BAM Nuttall (main railway contractors) regarding damage to the A7 and other roads.

“ The council made it clear it would be looking for BAM Nuttall or Network Rail to support the council in dealing with these issues.”

The realignment of the A72 at Dirtpot Corner has been allocated £3million in the agreed capital plan for the next 10 years, with the majority of the cash for 2018/19.

Although welcoming the earmarking of funds for the project, Councillor Catriona Bhatia also called for the creation of an A72 ‘action group’ to look at projects along the length of the route in the Borders to seek improvements.

“What would be really helpful is a very long hard look at the A72 in totality,” she said.

Councillor Willie Archibald also supported a £200,000 project for 2016/17 to implement traffic lights at the Neidpath corner.

“For the forseeable future that will make it a much safer corner,” he said.