A68 set to reopen next week

Drivers who use the A68 daily will be pleasantly suprised that the road is expected to be fully reopened early next week.

Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 4:32 pm
The embankment next to the collapsed section of the A68 is almost up to road level and the road is set to reopen early next week.

A section of the road, near Fala, completely collapsed along with the adjoining embankment due to the heavy rain experienced in the region in the early hours of Wednesday, August 12, leaving a gaping chasm.

Drivers were sent on a 20-mile-plus diversion from the Ravenswood roundabout and up the A7 instead, and there were worries the road could be closed for months.

However, roads contractor Bear Scotland this week announced that the road is set for reopening early next week.

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There is no doubt that it was a huge job, involving procuring and putting in place 5,000 tonnes of rock infil from a local quarry, and despite the very wet weather experienced last week, the repairs are on track for completion.

Utility companies worked quickly to relocate services, allowing phase two of the rockfill to continue up to road level.

Access to the site gradually became easier as the collapsed embankment was built back up to road level.

Each day during the repairs, up to 500 tonnes of rock were added, increasing the height of the infill by several metres.

The embankment has now been built back up close to road level and phase three of the repairs has begun, in which the road itself and associated infrastructure such as drainage, kerbing and the roadside safety barrier will be constructed.

Andy Thompson, Bear Scotland’s representative for the south east, said: “The team has made excellent progress and we’re confident that we will be able to reopen the A68 early next week.

“We’re very aware of the impact that this closure has had on road users and local communities and have been doing everything in our power to get these repairs completed safely as soon as possible.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their patience while we complete the final phase of the works.”

Local MSP Rachael Hamilton had pleaded with the company to provide updates on the repair, so that businesses along the length of the A68 impacted by the closure were made aware of what was happening.

There had also been concerns expressed by SNP politicians over the safety of the A7 given its heightened use due to the diversion.