Borders Railway work blamed for road erosion

The deep ruts have been caused by heavy goods vehicles using the road. Picture: Jon Savage

The deep ruts have been caused by heavy goods vehicles using the road. Picture: Jon Savage

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WORKS to the £350 million Borders Railway has been blamed for causing significant erosion to a major road.

Constant use by heavy goods vehicles transporting excavation materials from the site has worn out stretches on both sides of the road by the A7 junction.

The damage is so bad contractors have implemented a one-way system to stop further erosion to the embankments.

Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh who visited the site, said work needed to be done to stop the damage becoming “its legacy.”

He said: “Quite clearly the erosion is extensive. I empathise strongly with the residents.

“I appreciate the efforts BAM Nuttall are making to reduce any future damage – certainly, the implementation of a one-way system will help with this. These roads were never built to withstand such constant, heavy usage.

“The Borders Railway will clearly bring substantial benefits to Midlothian and beyond. However, it’s important that its legacy does not include issues such as this.”

Heavy traffic from lorries working on the Borders Railway is expected to continue through until at least late this year, when line testing is set to start.

Since work started, about 3500 tonnes of rock has been recycled every day from excavation works and blasting at Falahill.

The rubble is being used to help construct other parts of the rail link, including building roads, stabilising slopes, creating retaining walls and for the new railway bed itself.

More than 500,000 tonnes of earth has also been removed from the site for the new Shawfair station in Midlothian.

Work on one of the most challenging sections of the Borders Railway at Falahill got under way last month.

The design, approved by Scottish Borders Council in November, moves the A7 which runs between Edinburgh and Galashiels slightly to the west of its current alignment, giving more room. It will also see a new bridge carrying the road over the railway.

The bridge is the third and final A7 crossing and will take the Borders Railway one step closer to bringing train services back to Midlothian and the Scottish Borders for the first time in 40 years.

Mr Beattie said he was working to help ensure the work did not cause any more damage.

He said: “I have been working with BAM, Network Rail and the Scottish Government to establish where the funding will come from to fix these roads, and to seek reassurances people will not have to suffer any longer than absolutely necessary.”

A spokesman for Midlothian Council said it had an agreement to cover damage.

He said: “We’re working closely with the Borders Rail project and have an agreement in place with Network Rail that they’ll contribute to full repairs work for that road and verges later this year, once the large lorry movements cease.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are working closely with the local authorities and communities along the route to monitor the impact of our works and take remedial action where required.”