A MAJOR road into the Capital which has been closed for almost two years is finally set to be reopened on Friday.
The A6106 Old Dalkeith Road has been closed since the summer of 2012 after inspectors confirmed a landslip had caused several large cracks to appear in the road.
A huge repair operation costing £1.9 million is finally set to come to an end this week, bringing to a close diversions for the 10,000 motorists estimated to use the route on a daily basis.
The work to fill in the cracks and repair the road has involved 36,000 tonnes of earthworks, as well as 2500 tonnes of concrete, more than one kilometre of ground anchors and 200 metres of new road.
Extreme weather conditions, potential mine workings and long-term ground movement have all been put forward as possible causes of the deep underground slip in 2012.
Motorists were initially forced to take a 1.7-mile diversion through Eskbank to cross the River Esk – one of only two direct routes in Dalkeith which bypassed the damaged section of road.
Some vehicles avoided the route by cutting through Lugton Brae, a quiet road populated by a handful of upmarket villas, but they were also forced to take the long detour after complaints from residents saw the road closed to through traffic.
The council then decided to reopen Lugton Brae in October 2012 due to congestion problems.
Businesses have welcomed news that the road is to reopen.
Dalkeith Ford Centre principal dealer Gordon Close had seen his business suffer as a result of the diversions, with most of its passing trade lost.
He said: “It’s going to be a real benefit to have the road reopened. We have lost a lot of passing trade, particularly in the first couple of months of the road being closed because of the long diversion.
“When Lugton Brae was reopened it made a difference but it will be good to get back to normal. We have a premium site and we are planning to grow our business.”
Bonnyrigg contractor Crummock started construction works at the site in June having carried out inspections on the damaged road six months earlier.
Midlothian councillor Derek Rosie, cabinet member with responsibility for roads, was pleased to announce the works were set to be completed.
He said: “This has been a mammoth undertaking, a real feat of engineering because of excessive water penetrating the ground not to mention numerous other structural challenges.
“We’re really pleased to finally be able to say the repairs are finished and motorists can once again use this stretch.
“Many thanks to Crummock for tackling such a huge challenge, the council’s roads services engineers and thanks too to local people at Lugton Brae who have endured months of cars and buses diverting through the road there. Thanks also to motorists for bearing with us.”
Dalkeith councillor Alex Bennett was also delighted with the works being complete.
He said: “It’s a big relief that the road will be reopened. It’s especially good news to local businesses who have suffered and also the residents of Lugton Brae. They have been very patient with the diversion that has been in place.”