The A1 south of Dunbar towards the Border is one of the most notorious stretches of road in the UK for safety. It still has stretches of single carriageway as well as “suicide” junctions, which require one to cross the fast lane of two carriageways in order to travel in the opposite direction. Local people know the junctions are dangerous, but their reputation is not well known to travellers from outside the county.
I have been a longstanding campaigner on the need for improvements as a local resident, a Dunbar Community councillor, chair of the Community and Police Partnership for Ward 7 (Dunbar and East Linton) and as an elected councillor from 2007-12. I have had contact with relevant bodies and concerned individuals and attended meetings on the matter in Haddington and Morpeth. It is noted that there is a new spell of action meetings with councillor Michael Veitch at the helm. I would be happy to be invited to these meetings. There was a cross- Border action group set up some years ago.
After four years of action, I did see the appearance of rumblestrips at Thistley Cross and Spott Road roundabouts. Vehicle landings on these roundabouts are now a rarity rather than a several times a week occurrence…the most notorious being a National Express bus full of passengers, which, luckily, did not overturn.
The junctions on the A1 are a major concern. Tragically there was a fatal accident at the Skateraw junction – one person died at the scene and two subsequently. Those who died were from outwith the area and would not have known the dangerous reputation of these junctions.
Action on the safety of the A1 and its junctions in East Lothian is urgently required. Lives go beyond politics. It is not acceptable that lives have been lost because of the lack of statistics, including a fatal accident record. Prevention of accidents is vital – investment should not be a response to tragedy, but be a part of forward thinking. Investment needs to be considered now rather than after Scottish independence.
Some financial investment is minor, eg repainting of markings and clearer signage. Even the renewal of painting of the rumble-strips. Other investment is more expensive, such as lighting and roundabouts/underpasses to replace the “suicide” junctions.
The UK government has agreed to investment on the Northumberland stretch. It is time for Transport Scotland and the Scottish transport minister to take action. Which is more important: money or human life?