Appeal made to postpone closure of Canonbie road


A NEWCASTLETON businessman fears he could lose customers and income with the closure of the B6357 road to Canonbie for at least four weeks.

Eddie Rutherford of the Lidalia Caravan Park has asked Dumfries and Galloway Council to put back the essential work to the end of the year to avoid it clashing with his busiest period.

He says that next Monday, when the work starts, he has 17 caravans leaving and 12 coming in. The only suitable diversion route is via Hawick.

Mr Rutherford said: "There being no diversion which is suitable for towing vehicles or buses, should this go ahead at this time, there is no doubt we'll be hit very hard businesswise and hence the businesses in Newcastleton. This will also affect the school bus to Langholm.

"My request would be for this work to be rescheduled to a less busy period and for us to be given time to inform all our advanced bookings that the road will be closed.

"The village of Newcastleton will be hit very hard if these visitors are not able to access our village safely."

Mr Rutherford contact David Mundell, Dumfriesshire MP, whose constituency includes the site of the work at Harelaw Hagg.

Mr Mundell said: "I have been contacted by many concerned constituents over the effects this road closure will have on their daily lives and I've reiterated those concerns to council officers.

"Many people have been caught unaware of the length of this closure, giving them insufficient time to prepare for the impact on their businesses or routine activities.

"I hope the council can clearly explain what the effects of this closure will be. It has left many residents angry. I hope the council completes the works in the shortest possible time."

A council spokesman said that road would close from next Monday until about September 22.

"We realise this will be inconvenient to the community but the closure is needed to replace a deteriorating culvert and ensure the safety of the travelling public.

"We hoped to keep the road open as a single lane but, having considered various options, including a bailey bridge, this will not be possible. The road is only 5.6m wide and the depth of the excavation required is six metres.

"A single lane route through the works would prove hazardous to the workforce and the travelling public so we decided to close this section of road.

"We are aware there is disappointment at the timing of the works but after looking at timescales for delayed works, we are unable to postpone these any longer, given the anticipation of bad weather as the seasons progress, which could add to the project's duration. The need for an alternative route could also prove hazardous to residents if needed during the winter.

"The council has secured significant funding from the Strategic Timber Transport fund to improve sections of the A708 between Craigieburn and Shortwoodend, B709 from Eskdalemuir to the Scottish Borders boundary, B723 at the timber haulage route exit and the B7068 near Callister Hall.

"These works are currently in the planning stage and will result in the roads being closed for short periods. Any delay in the B6357 works would adversely affect the programming of these works which also need to be completed before the winter.

"The council, having listened to concerns and to alleviate some of the inconvenience, made some changes which will reduce the original timescale of the works to fewer than four weeks but it is not possible to guarantee this."

Signs have been placed in Canonbie and Newcastleton and the Scottish Ambulance Service has been consulted. An extra bus service is being added and a taxi service is being considered for residents who will have no other means of transport.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 3:25PM
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