A1 road accidents on the up

Transport Scotland staff met with Berwickshire communities  to discuss road safety issues at A1 junctions
Transport Scotland staff met with Berwickshire communities to discuss road safety issues at A1 junctions

A series of incidents on the A1 between Dunbar and Cockburnspath has prompted a community council to raise concerns about road safety with Scottish Government transport minister Humza Yousaf.

Over a period of 10 days in late September and early October, there were a number of accidents and near misses on the stretch of road, particularly near the junction to the cement works, and East Lammermuir Community Council believes changes to the layout and management of the trunk road need to be made.

It is not alone in being concerned about the junctions on the A1 in East Lothian and Berwickshire as Reston and Cockburnspath community councils have both raised the issue on many occasions, and it is often discussed at meetings of Scottish Borders Council’s Berwickshire area forum.

Councillors from Oldhamstocks, Innerwick and Spott are also frustrated that there has been no change to the Spott Road roundabout layout as there continues to be confusion about the correct lane to follow for different exits.

A freedom-of-information request to the police about the safety record of the A1 between Spott Road roundabout (Dunbar) and Castle Dykes roundabout (Cockburnspath) revealed that over the past two years, there have been four fatalities, with five people seriously injured and 41 slightly injured.

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East Lammermuir Community Council chairman, Chris Bruce, said: “At virtually every meeting of East Lammermuir Community Council local residents raise concerns about dangerous junctions on this section of the A1.

“We know that community councillors in Dunbar and Cockburnspath are equally concerned that we are seeing a disproportionate volume of serious accidents.

“We want to know what local councillors, members of Scottish and Westminster parliaments, and Transport Scotland will do before more people needlessly lose their lives in our back yard.

“We continue to press for complete dualling of this road, with upgraded junctions.”

At both last month’s Berwickshire Locality Committee meeting and the previous meeting in June ,road safety concerns at Cockburnspath roundabout and the junction at the cement works at Dunbar were raised with Inspector John Scott of Police Scotland and he agreed to investigate further. The main concern was lorries using the junction pulling out before both lanes were clear.

In 2015 a full review of junctions on the A1 in East Lothian and Berwickshire was carried out and a representative from Transport Scotland attended a Berwickshire Area Forum meeting to explain what remedial action they were taking - dualling of the road not an option being considered at that time.

Community councillors at Reston and Eyemouth have had roadside meetings with both Transport Scotland representatives and trunk road operators in recent years, local MPs and MSPs have heard and seen for themselves what the concerns are but the issue shows no sign of disappearing because local residents remain unsatisfied with the response from those who could do something about it.

East Lammermuir Community Council intend contacting East Lothian MP Martin Whitfield, Ian Gray, MSP, and local Dunbar councillors and Humsa Yousaf, Scottish Transport Minister and it hoped that the A1 Action Group will be reactivated to focus the attention of decision makers.