Fountainhall quarry reopening digs up A7 fears

Hazelbank Quarry
Hazelbank Quarry

The reopening of a quarry at Fountainhall has increased fears over the safety of a stretch of the busiest road in the Borders.

The A7 north of Galashiels has already seen a rise in large lorries servicing construction of the Borders Railway this year, but the imminent reopening of Hazelbank Quarry by Aggregate Industries means further heavy and slow traffic is expected on the route.

Warning signs will be erected near the entrance to the site, with Stow and Fountainhall Community Council secretary Jenny Mushlin reporting a positive meeting with quarry manager Graham Telfer.

“However, there are massive concerns,” she added. “The majority of the lorries will be turning northwards so will be crossing the carriageway, which is going to be really dangerous as southbound motorists prepare to overtake on the straight.

“This stretch of the A7 sees a lot of accidents and more large lorries will create frustration with drivers.”

Speaking at Galashiels Community Council, councillor Sandy Aitchison, who lives in nearby Stow, said: “There is no doubt the length of the A7 will be increasingly like an industrial site.

“It is going to be a very busy road, increasingly so in the next few months, and it would be a good idea for motorists to give themselves more time.

“This stretch is used as a relief passing place but that now is going to be difficult. The Valley is worried about it.”

Fellow Galashiels councillor Bill White added: “With an expected 36 lorry movements a day from the quarry and the works along the railway, the A7 is going to be more dangerous over the next two years.”

A transport assessment by AI in 2010 claimed the quarry would only increase traffic by 1.44 per cent during the day.