LORRIES could be barred from travelling on part of the A1 when winds are higher than 50 miles an hour under new road safety and severe weather plans in the wake of local police concerns.
AMEY, which maintains the road network for Transport Scotland, has confirmed it is drawing up plans to introduce weather-related diversions for HGVs and high-sided vehicles between Dunbar and Haddington.
The move follows a string of incidents in which lorries have been blown over as they crossed the exposed Tyne Bridge during high winds, leading to road closures, delays and diversions for other road-users.
Chief Inspector Steven Duncan, local area police commander for East Lothian, said he raised concerns after two incidents in his first few months in the post earlier this year.
The section of the A1 has seen several incidents during bad weather when lorries have been blown on to their sides leading to the route being closed and diversions introduced from Thistly Cross Roundabout at Dunbar to Haddington.
Under the new proposals that diversion, which uses the old A1 and the A199, would be automatically brought into force when winds were recorded at above 50 miles an hour – at which point they pose a threat to lorries and other high-sided vehicles such as buses.
The diversion would take lorries and other vehicles judged to be at risk on a near parallel single carriage route which is the same length as the 8.5 mile section of A1 they are being diverted from.
Chief Inspector Duncan told a meeting of East Lothian Council’s Police and Fire Community Safety Committee he had made tackling the dangers on the route a priority.
The senior officer said: “There is a wind management plan in place.
“I have been concerned that two vehicles were blown over in my first few months here at the Tyne Bridge.
“We have identified a nice easy diversion to implement and are looking to have a plan in place to drive that forward.”
Transport Scotland said it has asked AMEY to look into the proposals which could see permanent signs in place to advise lorry drivers and those behind the wheel of other vulnerable vehicles when they should use the diversion.
A spokesperson for AMEY said: “The Tyne Wind Management Plan is being developed following a number of incidents of high-sided vehicles being blown over near to the Tyne Bridge.
“The development of this plan has been prioritised after discussion with Police Scotland.
“As a vulnerable location the plan proposes implementing a diversion for HGVs and other high-sided vehicles when wind gusts are in excess of 50mph.
“The route being used is a standard agreed diversion, using the A199 and the old A1, which runs parallel to the A1 expressway.”
Last year an HGV lorry driver was disqualified from driving for two years and fined £1,000 after he ignored a ban on high-sided vehicles crossing the Forth Road Bridge during gales and his vehicle was blown over, blocking it for 19 hours.