Dirtpot Corner – previously an accident blackspot on the A72 between Innerleithen and Peebles – has now reopened following a £2.2m programme to widen the road.
The 11-month improvement scheme has resulted the corner, near Cardrona, being widened by three metres and resurfaced, with a striking new retaining wall installed alongside the River Tweed.
The scheme began in August 2018, with foundations for the new 6m-high stone-faced wall completed before the winter.
The wall was then built up to allow a safety parapet to be accommodated and the work done to the road itself.
The improvements – which have been carried out by SBc Contracts – aim to reduce the traffic incidents, particularly issues with heavy goods vehicles meeting at the corner.
It’s something local councillors have been lobbying for for some time.
Tweeddale East councillors Stuart Bell, Shona Haslam and Robin Tatler said, in a joint statement: “The local community and councillors have all called for action at Dirtpot Corner for a number of years, and we are delighted this improvement scheme has now been completed.
“The corner will be significantly better for road users to navigate, and SBc Contracts and the council’s engineering design team deserve huge credit for their efforts to minimise the impact on motorists and the local environment, and for the quality of their work.
“We again thank the local community for their understanding throughout the project and hope they recognise the benefit of the new Dirtpot Corner.”
A key aspect of the scheme has been that much of the construction work was undertaken from the river bank. This was considered the best option in order to reduce the environmental impact, cost of the project and minimise the impact on traffic on the road, with the road closed at the corner for only two days throughout the 11 months of the project.
In the coming months, tree and wildflower planting will take place, alongside landscaping works to restore the works area at the corner.
Councillor Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, said he was pleased that the project had been completed, and that it had taken time to work round the various logistical problems at the site.
He said: “Dirtpot Corner has been a long-standing issue and finding a solution which met the various environmental and road requirements on the scheme has taken some time.
“However, the end result is a significant improvement for road users, who we must thank for their patience during the works.
“While it is much improved, we would advise road users to take their time when approaching the corner until they get used to the new layout.”