Fears that someone will be hurt or a historic structure damaged beyond repair unless drivers start respecting a weight limit at Hornshole Bridge have been shared.
Those concerns come after a third lorry in less than three weeks struck the 250-year-old stone bridge over the Teviot outside Hawick.
Fore despite it having a 10 tonnes weight=limit and being unsuitable for lorries, many heavy goods drivers have been flouting that ban in favour of a shortcut to Burnfoot Industrial Estate from the A698 Denholm road, or to bypass Hawick to the A7.
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall said: “There can be no doubt that an increase in traffic volumes on this bridge is causing serious structural damage and only a few days ago the bridge was yet again struck by a lorry, causing considerable damage to copings and dislodging large pieces of masonry.”
He says that although road and bridge improvement works are scheduled for later this month, unless people start heeding the restrictions, someone will be hurt.
“Hornshole Bridge is also used regularly by walking groups, cyclists and horse riders and if nothing is done soon to manage the huge traffic flows which often cause gridlock at peak times then there may well be a very serious incident to deal with,” he added. “There is not a week that goes by that I don’t receive calls from the public or motorist informing me of yet another incident on this ancient structure.
“Unless we as a council can get a planned programme of investment in place to maintain or upgrade it, then I’m afraid its condition will continue to deteriorate even further.”
Local residents, who have before pressed for road calming measures and more effective restrictions on heavy vehicles, will soon see a £10,000 banking extension and bridge reinforcement with some road closures in place at the bridge on Monday, October 21.
However, Mr Marshall warned: “The bridge itself will receive remedial attention which really won’t go far in addressing the real issues to its structure.”