Leaderfoot Bridge closed for weeks

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Leaderfoot Bridge
Image caption,
A section of the bridge collapsed last week forcing its closure

A historic bridge in the Borders is to stay shut until July for essential repairs after part of it collapsed.

Police reported problems with a section of the Leaderfoot Bridge last week and the road was closed on safety grounds.

Engineers have now said it cannot carry traffic due to the "potential instability of the road surface".

Councillor Jim Fullarton said problems with bridges were becoming more common due to severe weather over the last two winters.

Scottish Borders Council said every effort would be made to have the C78 between Leaderfoot Bridge and Smailholm open as soon as possible.

However, it said that due to the historic nature of the structure all design proposals would need to be agreed with consultees.

Works will consist of fully rebuilding the collapsed bridge's retaining wing wall, as well as taking down and rebuilding two other retaining wing walls which are showing significant signs of structural distress.

Mr Fullarton said: "Freezing temperatures, with resulting frost and thaw, mean that any deteriorated parts of a masonry structure such as open jointing are made worse with resulting failures.

"We apologise for the inconvenience caused by this road closure and would ask people who use this route regularly to bear with us while these essential repairs are carried out."

The bridge crosses the Leader Water and serves as a link between Galashiels, Smailholm and Kelso. It provides access to adjoining communities as well as access to the A68 from Craighouse Quarry.

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