In a welcome show of cross party unity local MSP, Colin Beattie, and the three ward Councillors for Ward 5 Midlothian East have joined together in support of Pathhead and surrounding rural villages, (including Pathhead) and the communities affected by the A 68.
The A 68 Focus Group has been in existence for some years and has achieved improvements in speed limits etc. in the local villages. More recently it has been tackling safety issues along the A 68 and has expanded its membership to draw in stakeholders across the board. Group Chair, Colin Beattie, stated “We now have political support for our communities across party lines plus representatives from all the villages; Transport Scotland; Amey; Midlothian Council; Police Scotland; Community Council; and other interested local groups. Now we must work hard with our partners to delivery improved safety along the route of the A 68 where there have been a disturbing number of safety incidents over the past years. We also have the attention of the Transport Minister, Humza Yousuf MSP in support of our efforts”.
Councillor John Hackett, said, “The A 68 is part of Scotland’s national road network but more importantly for residents, it is the local road which connects families, friends and communities. Traffic in Midlothian is expected to increase by 25% over the next 5 years. It is important for our local Councillors and MSPs to work together to meet the challenges this will bring and work with communities and the Scottish Government on long term solutions to improve safety.”
Councillor Kenneth Baird added, "Having a major trunk road running through a village brings challenges and safety concerns for all local residents, it's important that these issues are addressed as a priority. Safety for children and our most vulnerable should be our primary focus."
Councillor Peter Smaill added, “UK government research estimates the cost of a fatal road accident at an average £2m per occurrence. Quite apart from the paramount importance of human life and the impacts of bereavement, there is seemingly a good economic case for Transport Scotland to invest in improving the notoriously dangerous stretches of the A68”
Many residents will welcome the prospect of A 68 black spots being addressed and community safety concerns being taken seriously and investigated.