Answers being demanded after lack of signs leads to traffic trouble in Hawick

Councillor Watson McAteer at roadworks next to O'Connell Street in Hawick.Councillor Watson McAteer at roadworks next to O'Connell Street in Hawick.
Councillor Watson McAteer at roadworks next to O'Connell Street in Hawick.
Answers are being demanded after an absence of signage warning of Hawick High Street being closed led to traffic chaos and multiple near-collisions.

Due to works being carried out by SP Energy Networks, High Street was closed off last week from its O’Connell Street junction to Cross Wynd, with a diversion put in place to route southbound traffic via the terraces to Slitrig Crescent.

However, due to there being no sign of any signage, particularly at Melgund Place and Lothian Street’s junction with O’Connell Street, some drivers found themselves heading north along High Street contrary to the one-way system there.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That led to much confusion and several near-collisions, though no actual accidents, as far as is known.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer was alerted to the issue via a Facebook message on Sunday.

Although signage is the responsibility of the energy company, Mr Watson believes Scottish Borders Council should have carried out checks to ensure it was satisfactory.

He said: “I was alerted to problems with traffic travelling west in O’Connell Street to the High Street and then either having to turn around or indeed some were driving north in High Street against the one-way system creating an obvious danger.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I attended and observed a number of drivers experiencing difficulty and recognised the very obvious danger this was causing.

“It was obvious that the lack of any signage was not helping the situation and drivers were being confronted with a road closure without any pre-warning.

“I alerted the council’s emergency roads contact and, in the interim, managed to place a sign at the relevant junction to assist drivers.

“It is quite incredible that this situation was allowed to continue, and I am seeking clarity from the council as to who is responsible for ensuring diversion and road signage is properly placed while road maintenance is taking place.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It appears that there may have been a few near misses during this period, and we have been very fortunate that a serious accident did not take place.”

A spokesperson for SP Energy Networks said: “We’ve been working over the past week to repair a damaged low-voltage underground power cable in Hawick High Street.

“Due to the extent of the essential works required, a temporary road closure was put in place from Monday, June 15, to Tuesday June 23, with related traffic management and signage.

“We’re pleased the works are now complete and the road has fully reopened, and we thank all those affected for their patience and co-operation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We’re aware of queries regarding the traffic management signage that was put in place and will review this for future projects.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “We put an extra sign out to help with traffic.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.