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‘Potential disaster’

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By Euan Maxwell
‘Potential disaster’

THE state of a popular Annandale road has been described as a “war zone” and a “potential disaster” by a councillor.

The A708 – which links Moffat to Selkirk – was brought up by Dumfries and Galloway councillor Andy Fergusson after a drainage scheme near Grey Mare’s Tail was scrapped by officials.

He asked officers at this week’s communities committee why this was and claimed large dangerous potholes on the A708 were “the worst I’ve ever seen it”.

Cllr Fergusson said: “I had personal experience going along that road recently and it really is the worst I’ve ever seen it.

“We’re not talking about the odd pothole here, I’m talking about holes that are across more than half of the carriageway and the other side where it’s starting to crumble down.

“This is a timber route and is also a very busy route for tourists, especially bus coaches.

“I’m interested to find out why we cancelled the drainage on that road.

Drainage plays a major factor up there, especially in the cold winter when water gets under the tar.

“We’ve got a real problem.”

The concerned councillor added: “I sent an email to officers saying that this is a potential disaster.

“There was only enough space for my car to get past the road. I drive a small car and I was worried.

“Going eastwards and at that one particular pothole, which is almost two-thirds of the carriageway, I was expecting something to be done, especially when there was a team a mile down the road.”

Mr Fergusson – who is councillor for North West Dumfries – demanded to know what the local authority had planned for

the A708 “to bring it up to date and to the same standard of the Borders”.

He added: “Because it is embarrassing when you cross and go down hill. It’s like a bowling green at the Borders side but on our side it’s like coming through a war zone.

“There was a team working on little potholes that day I was on the road but there were massive ones not getting looked at.

“Maybe we’re needing to re-jig or re-look how we prioritise which potholes need to be fixed first.”

Responding, interim assistant director for transport and infrastructure Stephen Hall said the council didn’t have that information at hand but pledged to get a

response on why the scheme had been cancelled and the overall approach to maintenance on the A708.

Meanwhile, after recent lobbying from elected members, Moffat Community Council and many constituents, the council agreed to conduct emergency repairs on the A708.

In a written report to last week’s Moffat Community Council, Annandale North cllr Lynne Davis, stated these repairs had commenced on May 13.

Cllr Davis added: “I have requested a progress report to ascertain what section are still to be repaired, as after driving the road myself last week there are still some very dangerous defects and potholes remaining.”

The busy road linking Moffat to Selkirk also proved to be a main topic of discussion last week when all four items on the police report at Moffat Community Council related to separate accidents on the road, while John Hyslop from Annandale Transport told those present: “We run 35 trucks all over Galloway and Argyll and we don’t have trouble like what there is here.”


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