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Monday, 24 November 2014

‘Lives at risk’ after fourth crash on A7

A FOURTH crash at the same spot on the A7 at Ewes has heightened fears that someone may be killed.

Last week’s accident was caused by black ice and, fortunately, the driver was uninjured.

Mark Spittle of Stablecleuch has previously had two vehicles end up in his garden and has sleepless nights whenever the road is flooded or temperatures fall below zero.

His concerns have been taken up by Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell who has been in contact with BEAR Scotland, the company which maintains the route for Transport Scotland.

Mr Spittle, who has lived there since 2004, is so worried that he has even offered to give up some of his garden so BEAR can build crash barriers.

The accident happened in the early hours of last Thursday.

He said: “The driver lost control at the same place as all the others.

“He hit my gate post, destroying that and the gate, carried on down the road and damaged some fencing and slammed into the telegraph pole which had only been put up on January 15. It had been broken in half just before Christmas.

“It’s very worrying because if there is torrential rain, cars lose control because they aqua-plane on that bend and if the road is damp and it gets cold, it freezes and causes black ice.”

He said that in last August’s accident, the vehicle smashed into a different telegraph pole further north and ended up on its roof in his garden.

“We were sat down for an evening meal; we heard a bang and there it was.”

As a result of an accident in 2007, a vehicle landed upside down in his garden. He was not there at the time but came home a few days later.

BEAR Scotland has visited Mr Spittle and examined the drainage and looked at the possibility of crash barriers.

He said: “If they could keep the vehicles on the road, that would be safer for me and the road users. In the past BEAR have said there is insufficient space for barriers but I have said I would lose some land so they could be put up.

“Last time we spoke they were fairly positive; they thought it could be done. But they don’t have the funding in their own budget so would have to argue for more money from Transport Scotland.”

BEAR were supposed to be doing the drainage which would involve putting in a French drain with ballast underneath. It would extend along to a field entrance where probably 70 per cent of water flowed onto the road.

Mr Spittle, who is retired, said: “In theory, if they can take the water off the road, that would remove the problem. How effective the system will be remains to be seen.”

So far, the accidents have resulted in only cuts and bruises.

But Mr Spittle is concerned for his safety, saying: “I do worry about it, particularly if it’s very cold or there’s a lot of rain. The water carries on flowing off the hillside even when the rain stops. Even after 24 hours, the road can still be flooded.

“They resurfaced the road and made a lovely job of it but now the water sits on the road and people just lose grip. If the next accident is a fatality, I’m sure they will do something immediately.”

A police spokesman confirmed the accident involved an Audi A3 driven by a 53-year-old man from Ripon who was uninjured. Ice on the road was the most likely cause of the accident.

Mr Mundell said: “It is unacceptable for my constituent to suffer the stress of coping with these accidents and the resultant aftermath.

“So far, he and his family have escaped from being physically involved and I want to ensure it remains that way.

“If a lorry were involved, it might strike his house, rather than end up in his garden, with terrible consequences.”

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