Serious damage to the A68

Monday August 17th 2020

Colin Beattie MSP
Colin Beattie MSP, Midlothian North & Musselburgh, writes his monthly column for Midlothian View

An evening of extreme weather this month has resulted in damaged infrastructure across the country. First and foremost, I would like to send my condolences to all those who were affected by the train crash at Stonehaven, which has been a tragic and distressing event. I would like to thank all those emergency service workers who dealt with the situation so promptly and worked through challenging circumstances to help those involved in the accident. This has been a very serious incident, and the families and loved ones of those lost are in my thoughts.

Locally, this terrible weather has also resulted in serious damage to the A68, where a section of the road has fallen away. I have been in talks with Transport Scotland, Amey and Midlothian Council to ensure that there are solutions found for the issues which have presented themselves as a result of this road closure. I have contacted Midlothian Council to ask for public transport measures to be put in place, and also for adequate signage to avoid traffic entering into Fala Village and Fala Dam. I have also been in talks with Transport Scotland and Amey regarding the large HGV vehicles which are not following the proper diversion routes and are causing blockages on other roads.

I would like to use my platform to urge constituents to plan in advance for trips which would normally use this route. If you are planning a trip which involves using the A68 please familiarise yourself with the diversion ahead of travelling, leave extra time for travel and obey the signage which is in place. While further investigations take place and actions are taken to fix the road, it is important that we do not overwhelm nearby villages and smaller roads. I ask that people are mindful of the residents living in this area, and that people do not put them at risk by trying to take shortcuts.

As many will know, I have been involved in a longstanding action group relating to the A68, and I plan to keep this issue on my radar going forward and ensure that timely action is taken to fix this road, though given the damage on the road in relation to this incident this is unlikely to be a quick fix. It is important that we address issues relating to the road damage quickly and diversions quickly so that the surrounding area is not disadvantaged over the period of repair. If anyone has any concerns, I would urge them to get in touch with me.

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