New bridge the answer to traffic congestion woes

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THE only way to solve congestion problems on the Albert Bridge is to build a brand new one.

That was the statement made by Community Councillor Andrew Farquhar last week after it was heard that despite a successful meeting with BEAR Scotland, there is little that can be done to improve public safety.

Having frequently highlighted the threat to pedestrians caused mainly by the narrow walkways and heavy traffic and lorries – which have narrowly missed members of the public walking along the pavement – a site meeting requested by Hawick Community Council was also attended by Councillor Stuart Marshall and representatives from Transport Scotland and BEAR Scotland.

And although as a result the road network operator has agreed to carry out several improvement measures - including refreshing road linings and markings, and improving signage at the Sandbed roundabout – Mr Farquhar says it is an impossible situation.

He told the Hawick News: “Yes the answer would be a new bridge but unfortunately to get it, some Listed buildings in either the Sandbed or Buccleuch Street area or even part of the high school would need to be demolished and that is never going to happen.

“A by-pass between Martin’s Bridge and Boonraw would be the other option, however, we are never likely to see any of these come about unless triggered by an event such as the Kelso Bridge fatal accident or the landslip south of Langholm, so we’re stuck with what we’ve got for now.”

This conclusion is backed up by a report from BEAR following the meeting, which states: “It was noted that short of demolishing some of these historic buildings, it would not be possible to achieve better carriageway alignment on the approaches to the bridge.”

Community Councillor Kevin Ferguson commented: “It’s unfortunate we have to wait until someone gets serious hurt before something happens.”