Falkirk Provost’s £112,000 repair quote for ‘dangerous’ road turns out to be £3.4m

The Provost of Falkirk has been told that repair work to a dangerous stretch of road, which he had been quoted £112,000 for, would actually cost over £3 million.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 11:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 11:16 am

Provost Billy Buchanan was also told that the stretch of road – which he considers one of the most dangerous in the district – had not seen any accidents that would make it a priority for work.

Mr Buchanan, who is also a local councillor for Bonnybridge, said that as he is “only a lay person” he couldn’t challenge their conclusions.

The report to Falkirk Council’s executive this week was in response to the Provost’s recent plea for £112,000 to be used to add a barrier to the B816, Seabegs Road, which runs between Bonnybridge and Allandale.

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Provost Buchanan (Pic: Michael Gillen)

At the budget meeting, Mr Buchanan told his fellow councillors that he had originally approached George Walker Fencing several years ago when the firm was working on the M80, and asked them for a quote, which they provided.

The £112,000 was an updated version of that quote.

But councillors were then stunned to hear from officers that they believed the work would actually cost around £3.4 million.

Officers were asked for a report explaining the difference and at this week’s meeting, the acting director of development, Douglas Duff, and head of roads Dot Reid stood by that costing.

B816

The road has the Antonine Wall – a UNESCO World Heritage site – on one side and the Forth and Clyde Canal on the other, both of which make access difficult and would make any work more expensive.

The cheaper quote, they said, does not set out specification or construction details for the works and how they would comply with very strict guidelines contained the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB).

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They also concluded that:

significant construction works would be required for canal embankments;

various public utility services contained within the embankments would require costly work to divert;

Structural engineering to create retaining walls with parapets would also be required – all of which would take the price up.

In a statement that was read out to the meeting, Mr Buchanan thanked Mr Duff and Ms Reid for meeting him to see the site for themselves.

He said: “Let me be clear when I say I am in no position to argue any of the points included in this report. Why? Because I am a councillor with no experience in engineering.”

However, he added: “I have highlighted these concerns over the years and I still maintain that this stretch of road is one of the most dangerous in the district.”

And the Provost remained adamant that action must be taken to make repairs at a point in the road where a tree came down, taking part of the road with it.

“It is still dangerous,” he said. ”Whoever has the responsibility for this, it must be attended to before the dark nights come in.”

Officers said they had been speaking to Scottish Canals about reinstating the embankment and verge and it was hoped that further works could be agreed.

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