Police are warning they’ll be adopting a zero-tolerance policy towards motorists flouting a temporary one-way order to be brought in once roadworks resume at the Galafoot Bridge, near Galashiels, next month.
The second phase of repairs to the eastbound carriageway of the A6091 at the bridge over the Tweed is due to start at 9pm on Monday, February 4, and continue for 12 weeks.
Two drivers were charged and a further six cautioned for not heeding temporary traffic signs during phase one of the roadworks last year, and the police are warning that motorists doing likewise next time round will face prosecution too.
Changes have been made to clarify the diversion routes and additional signage will be put up ahead of phase two of the £800,000 works.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “During the last repairs carried out at Galafoot Bridge, a small number of motorists decided to ignore the diversions and closures.
“This is not only inconsiderate but extremely dangerous.
“During this second phase of repairs, the police will be taking a zero-tolerance approach, and any driver caught committing offences will be charged and reported to the procurator fiscal.”
The first round of repairs, to the bridge’s westbound carriageway, was completed on Sunday, November 18, and it saw about 5% of the reinforced concrete deck structure on that side fixed. A similar level of repairs is expected to be needed to the eastbound carriageway.
The bridge will remain open as normal to traffic travelling west, but eastbound cars and vans will be diverted via the A7 to the B6360 Abbotsford-to-Tweedbank road.
Nearby Lowood Bridge will remain open throughout the works, with some adjustments to traffic signal timings to help cut congestion.
Eastbound lorries will go via Selkirk and St Boswells along the A7, A699 and A68.
Some full closures of the bridge will be needed, but they will be carried out overnight.
Stuart Wallace, bridges manager for Oxfordshire-based infrastructure management firm Amey, the company responsible, said: “I want to thank road users and the local community for their continued patience as these essential repairs are completed.
“We have consulted with local stakeholders including Scottish Borders Council, community councils and the emergency services and, wherever possible, we have integrated their feedback into the planning of phase two.
“Lessons have been learned from phase one, and there will be an increased workforce during this phase.
“However, there will be times when concrete repair works are hardening that the site may not appear manned.
“We intend to use signage to keep road users informed of progress.
“We apologise for any inconvenience these works may cause, but by undertaking this work now, we will prevent further deterioration of the bridge, which might require a more costly and much lengthier closure in the future.”
Strengthening works and repairs to the bridge, linking Galashiels with Tweedbank, were originally scheduled to last 10 weeks last year, but once they got under way, the Tweed crossing was found to be in worse condition than first thought, leading to that being extended to 12 weeks, with the same again to follow this year.