Safety drive to cut crashes at notorious road junction

Firefighters inspect the wreckage after a fatal smash at Leadburn junction in January 2010
Firefighters inspect the wreckage after a fatal smash at Leadburn junction in January 2010
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A HOST of new safety measures are set to be introduced at a notorious accident blackspot, including a 40mph speed limit, in a bid to cut down on road crashes.

The Leadburn junction, near Penicuik, has been the scene of a number of fatal smashes over the years, with local residents reporting accidents as often as one a week.

Now council chiefs have unveiled plans to enforce the new lower speed limit on all immediate approaches to the junction, which could be in place as early as March.

Under the proposals, “countdown” signs giving advance notice of the speed restrictions would be installed, as well as rumble strips and speed- activated warning signs.

The junction, near the boundary of Midlothian and the Borders, connects the A701 Penicuik road, A703 from Peebles and A6094 to Bonnyrigg.

Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, called for the measures to go further with CCTV set up at the junction.

However, Councillor Wilma Chalmers, cabinet member for commercial operations in Midlothian, said: “We have no plans to install CCTV at the Leadburn junction.

“Our information on accidents at the junction is comprehensive and we are aware of the manoeuvres drivers carry out.

“However, we do propose additional safety measures, including a 40mph speed limit, subject to statutory consultation by this council and Scottish Borders Council.

“If approved, this would cover all immediate approaches to the junction, including some of the A701 in the Scottish Borders, the extent of which would be decided by Scottish Borders Council.

“Additional works would include ‘countdown’ signs to give advance notice of the speed limit, rumble strips to alert drivers and remind them to watch their speed, and a speed-activated warning sign for the crossroads, which would light up with an extra warning for vehicles which had not slowed down.”

Ms Grahame said that a total of 15 accidents were reported at the blackspot between December 2009 and December last year.

She said: “Despite various amendments to the road lay-out and signage at Leadburn the number of collisions resulting in injuries to drivers and passengers remains unacceptably high. The installation of cameras, even on a trial basis, must be worth a try.”

On August 30 last year, a woman had to be freed from wreckage following a four-car pile-up at Leadburn junction. Firefighters used cutting equipment to release the woman, who was in her 50s, and who was feared to have suffered spinal injuries in the crash.

In January 2010, an 87-year-old woman was killed after her car collided with a van.

In 2005, the 228-year-old Leadburn Inn, which sits nearby, was damaged beyond repair after a driver died when he crashed into the building.