Welcome for new signs at notorious corner

TWEEDDALE councillor Gavin Logan has welcomed the news that enlarged warning signs are to be erected on the approach to the notorious Dirtpot Corner on the A72 near Cardrona.

Now road surface messages, telling drivers to slow down, will also be installed.

These innovations, which will be presented for approval to Innerleithen, Traquair and Glen Community Council, have the reluctant support of Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure Jim Fullarton.

As the last full council meeting, Councillor Fullarton was told by fellow Tory Mr Logan that proposals for warning signs at the corner, following a fatal accident last summer, did not meet the expectations of Peeblesshire road users.

Mr Logan was referring to the death in August of Perth biker David Arnot, 49, after his machine collided with an oncoming car.

Mr Fullarton said he disagreed with his colleague’s assessment of the danger at the site west of Innerleithen.

“In promoting road signs, officers are constrained by statutory regulations and additional criteria in the Traffic Signs Manual,” said Mr Fullarton.

“In applying these regulations and criteria, officers must strive for consistency both on a whole route basis and across the wider Borders.

“The review of the fatal accident undertaken by police and council officers did not find that the existing road layout or signs were a contributory factor.

“There are other locations on the A72 and elsewhere in the Borders with a worse accident record which do not enjoy the current level of signing already in place at Dirtpot Corner.

“Notwithstanding this, staff have looked carefully at the site and have identified additional measures [replacing signs with larger, more prominent ones and marking ‘Slow’ on the carriageway]. I believe this to be a commonsense approach commensurate with the difficulties and constraints of the site.”

Mr Logan said he welcomed Mr Fullarton’s announcement on “additional measures”.

“It may well be the case that the fatal motorcycle accident was not directly linked to the inadequacy of signage, but that does not alter the fact that this is a tremendously hazardous corner.

“That is why, almost a year ago, I defied my party’s whip and voted against the axing of a £4.7million project to realign the road by building two new bridges over the River Tweed from the council’s capital budget over the next five years.

“I remain convinced that deprioritising the removal of this perilous corner was a grave mistake, but it is some comfort that, commonsense – to use Mr Fullarton’s word – had prevailed over the signage issue.”