Safety doubts as region’s roads fall short of mark

THREE of the Borders transport links are not up to the mark – and it is putting lives at risk, writes Kenny Paterson.

That is the belief of a national road safety organisation who say a significant proportion of line markings have dangerously worn away.

Figures from the Road Safety Markings Association show that almost of a quarter of the A7 from Hawick to Edinburgh, a third of the A68 from Otterburn to Edinburgh and half of the A6088 from Hawick to the Carter Bar need urgent attention.

On top of that, the RSMA said each route had significant sections which should be scheduled for line replacements due to their condition.

With Scotland’s roads rated the worst for line markings by the association, Borders MSP John Lamont has demanded action.

He said: “When our road network is so essential in the Borders, these figures come as worrying reading.

“I sincerely hope that this will provoke some action from the Scottish Government to improve them.

“Having decent markings on our roads is vital to the safety of those who use them.

“They provide instructions and advice that can help to avoid serious accidents and it is quite frankly shameful that they have been allowed to descend into this state.

“With the Borders being a rural area, many local residents rely on our road network every day for getting around. They need and deserve roads that are up to scratch – and the least the SNP Government can do is to ensure that they provide them.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said the Scottish Government’s road safety policies has seen casualty reduction targets exceeded and accident rates reach an all-time low.

He added: “Scotland has recently recorded the lowest number of road deaths since records began, down by almost 50 per cent since 2001.

“Our operating companies have a contractual obligation to monitor the markings on their roads and their performance is monitored by the Performance Audit Group. Obviously it is disappointing that there are occasions where this does not meet the necessary standards, but we will continue to press this issue.”

Both Mr Lamont and South of Scotland MSP Jim Hume quizzed Transport Minister Keith Brown in the Scottish Parliament last week on the subject of improvements to Borders roads.

Mr Hume added: “The long-term maintenance and improvements to the A7 must be addressed.

“Trunking the road north of Galashiels has been a focus for local campaigners and I believe that the Scottish Government should now commit to this given the importance of the A7 to the Borders.”