by Sharon Tolson
EXTREME weather conditions caused widespread disruption during last Friday evening and Saturday morning where many of the region’s roads suffered severe flooding.
Delays are still in place on the A7 south of Langholm after a landslide occurred blocking the road affecting motorists heading through Langholm.
Alan Tolson who was visiting his parents at Border Esk was first alerted when he saw vehicles back up from the traffic lights at the Skippers Bridge and a couple of motorists pulled into the former garage forecourt asking for advice as they were told the road was closed further down.
After looking for information online he found a report about a possible landslide on the A7 and he called the Police who advised him to contact the Council because it wasn’t a ‘police matter’.
Alan then took photographs of the said landslide which he sent to Amey Highways because he knew that they are responsible for maintenance on the A7, not Dumfries and Galloway council.
While on the A7, he saw many vehicles backed up including a petrol tanker which was forced to reverse back across the Skippers bridge. Also, a car towing a caravan which the driver had to unhitch to turn around and take the Tarras Road detour on the B6318 to the Hollows and then back onto the A7.
Some motorists came out of their cars to take a look and as they did so, a second landslide occurred forcing them to run back up the road just as a tree fell right across the it.
A spokesperson for Amey’s South East Trunk Road Unit told the E&L Advertiser:
“Amey’s south-east control room reported a landslip on the A7 south of Skippers Bridge, near Langholm, at 2.30pm on Saturday 10th August. We deployed a 5-tonne excavator, an incident support unit, 2 tipper lorries and a chainsaw crew to assist in the clearance at this location, with clean up commencing around 4pm.
“It took until 9pm to clear one carriageway and re-open under temporary traffic lights. In total, we removed around 300t of debris from the road. The carriageway was not damaged as the debris came from a banking above and was the result of very heavy unseasonal flood conditions.
“The road remains under traffic light control to allow geotechnical investigations to take place. We thank road users for their continued patience and understanding.”
A spokesman for Transport Scotland told the E&L Advertiser that there was also flooding on the M74 between Lockerbie and Kirkpatrick Fleming.
The recently opened Carlisle Airport was forced to close its runway and customers were told to monitor the Loganair website for updates. Flights were diverted to Newcastle International Airport with a local coach company transporting passengers to and from Newcastle.
The West Coast Mainline was also affected and rail passengers travelling through Lockerbie were subject to severe delays.
Sharon Irving from Langholm was travelling to Lockerbie on Saturday morning when she encountered severe flooding on the Canonbie to Annan Road.
She just managed to reach Lockerbie on the M74 before they closed one lane of the motorway near Eaglesfied due to flooding then on her return journey south from Lockerbie she was caught up in the flooding on the southbound carriageway at Kirkpatrick Fleming.
She said: “I was worried my car engine would get flooded because of the amount of water on the motorway and the road to Langholm was horrendous.
“Luckily we got through just before the landslide on the A7 or we would have been further delayed in returning home.”