A bridge of sighs for far too long

Roadworks on the A702 bridge, Coulter'20/9/11'Picture by Lindsay Addison
Roadworks on the A702 bridge, Coulter'20/9/11'Picture by Lindsay Addison

THE people of Coulter are starting to wonder if the vast new third Forth bridge will be built before the tiny one in the heart of their village is repaired.

For nine months now motorists using the busy A702 which runs through it have had to endure long traffic jams, noise and pollution as seemingly endless delays hold up repairs to the tiny span over Coulter Water, damaged when a vehicle hit a parapet.

Now villagers have turned to the Gazette in near-desperation to push the highways repair agency BEAR to get on with what appears to be a minor job.

Speaking for several villagers, Lisa Wallace claims that they are fed up with the red tape which has meant the bridge having temporary lights controlling one-way traffic for almost the whole year.

However, one of the area’s South Lanarkshire councillors says that he has been promised works should finally get underway in the next few weeks.

Said Lisa: “I know that I am speaking on behalf of the village in saying that we are now sick to the back teeth of the disruption this is causing with the traffic lights.

“Just what is our taxpayers’ money being spent on, because it certainly isn’t Coulter Bridge!

“This has been going on since the start of the year and there still seems to be no work in progress.

“I wonder just how much money has been spent already, from using the lights and from the batteries powering them being stolen on numerous occasions.

“Surely if this was all added up, it would come to more than just fixing the bridge?”

In June BEAR told her that it was still “considering cost estimates” for the work but she has heard nothing since.

She has now turned to the Gazette to seek action.

This week, Councillor Beith Forrest said that he’d been contacted by BEAR a fortnight ago to be told that there had been further delays to repairs starting because of talks with a utility company over repairing or replacing cables that pass under the bridge.

A BEAR spokeswoman, talking to the Gazette on Tuesday, said that work “will begin in early October”.