TWEEDSMUIR villagers are worried the council has got it wrong by not banning heavy lorries from using a bridge through their community.
Campaigners say Scottish Borders Council is using out-of- date information when it says there is no need to put a weight limit on the Carlows bridge linking Tweedsmuir and nearby forests to the main A701.
And they accuse SBC of endangering the lives of logging truck drivers and locals.
Tweedsmuir Bridge Advisory Group secretary Paul Greaves said: “The present situation is highly dangerous and is simply putting the lives of the people who use the bridge, including the timber lorry drivers, at risk.”
The group has seen council engineer reports which say the bridge’s spandrel walls, judged sound in 1992, are so badly damaged that they should be taken down and rebuilt.
And it points out the council’s main assessment made in 1992 was carried out before logging operations in surrounding forests saw timber trucks use the bridge regularly.
Mr Greaves said: “I’m just not sure any more that this bridge is safe in council hands because to refuse a weight limit on it on the basis of a 19-year-old assessment is absolutely ludicrous, particularly when the level of traffic over the bridge has changed so much since that assessment was done. Did no-one at the council think that another assessment might be a good idea? We need a new load assessment done immediately because no-one knows whether this bridge is still capable of taking these loads.”
A council spokesperson said the 1992 survey found the 18th- century listed bridge was “more than fully capable” of carrying 40 ton HGVs
“Since then the bridge has been inspected every two years, with in-depth principal inspections every six years. The bridge is due to have another major principal inspection at the end of this month, the results of which will again be compared against the condition of the bridge at the time of its last detailed assessment to check for any significant deterioration in key structural areas.
“Unless key supporting elements of the structure significantly deteriorate then there is no requirement to consider applying weight restrictions. At present the bridge is deemed safe to carry the maximum 40t/44t highway loading.”
SBC worked on the bridge on Monday and plans to work on the bridge masonry for about a week in the near future.