Lack of maintenance of bridges across the Borders is storing up trouble for the future, a worried councillor is warning.
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson has highlighted two footbridges over the River Teviot in the town as prime examples of structures being allowed to fall into a state of disrepair.
At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council today, October 25, he called on the ruling administration to act now or “pay the price in the future”.
Mr Paterson’s additional motion at today’s meeting was prompted by concerns voiced by townsfolk about the James Thomson Bridge and the Victoria Bridge.
The former, opened in 2006 and named in honour of the poet and songwriter Thomson, alive from 1827 to 1888, is rusting in several places. Also falling into a state of disrepair is the latter, opened in 1991.
Mr Paterson said: “The reason that I put in the question about the bridges, and other maintenance work that needs to be done, is that I have been approached by constituents who fear that work is being left and that it is eventually going to cost more to put things right.
“There is rusting in several areas of the Thomson bridge, and if it is left it just won’t get any better. It desperately needs to be done now.
“Also, the railings leading you into Wilton Lodge Park, on both sides of the river, are also in a shocking state.
“They have done a good job on the new gates at the park, but those railings really need some TLC.
“All the work that has been done on the park is fantastic, but surely there must be money put aside for the long-term maintenance of things.
“If the council can’t or won’t do this work, then the Hawick common good fund should be possibly contributing.”
A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said defects to the 1,200 bridges and culverts in the region are carried out on a priority-need basis, adding: “Maintenance of bridges throughout the Scottish Borders is undertaken via a combination of planned and reactive work programmes.
“Planned works are based on known defects and required repairs, whereas reactive works arise from accident or emergency incidents which often require more urgent attention, such as flood damage.
“Defects on bridges are noted via inspections undertaken by the asset team, by other council colleagues or reported by members of the public.
“These defects are then prioritised against other required maintenance works on the council’s 1,200 bridges and culverts across the region.
“In regards to the James Thomson Bridge, the council is aware that some services beneath the bridge have been subject to flood damage.
“Officers are currently making contact with relevant utility bodies to have these repaired.”