Good progress continues to be made on the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme, which will deliver protection to over 900 residential and commercial properties at risk along the River Teviot and Slitrig Water.

Phase one of advanced works
This focuses on utilities between The Borders Distillery and the Sainsbury’s entrance, as this work can be carried out without closing Commercial Road.

The Scheme needs to move the existing public utilities and services out of the Scheme’s construction corridor during the building of the flood defences, which is due to begin in the town in January 2020. The works began late last month near The Borders Distillery and were focussed on the footpath. As a result, there was no impact on traffic, with some parking restrictions in place.

As the works have progressed, traffic lights are now required to undertake the remainder of the diversions. A closure of Bath Street’s junction with Commercial Road will also be required as the works progress at the junction. Phase one works will continue to take place until September 2019 and at no time will these works require Commercial Road to be closed. The project team will continue to work directly with all businesses to ensure continuous access is available to all.

Phase two of advanced works at Commercial Road postponed until January 2020
It means the proposed full closure of Commercial Road from week commencing 15 July will therefore not take place.

The project team needs additional time to deliver on the obligations agreed with the community during its latest Community Traffic Management meeting. This additional time is required to design and deliver the temporary works required for the alternative diversion route through Princes Street and High Street. The designs will be fully developed in partnership with Transport Scotland and Amey – who are responsible for the A7 trunk road through Hawick – by late September 2019, with any required modifications being constructed in autumn 2019. The project team could then close Commercial Road, but as agreed with the community and local businesses, the Scheme will not impact the road during Christmas 2019. Therefore the closure is now postponed until January 2020.

This restructuring of the advanced works schedule does not impact on the main works contract completion date or the delivery of flood protection to Hawick, which are still scheduled for completion in late 2022. The advanced works contract remains on programme and the project team continues to tailor works on the ground further in consultation with stakeholders to minimise impact on the town.

Advanced works update throughout town
The diversion of gas pipes at the Common Haugh is ongoing, as are diversion works along Mansfield Road from Teviotdale Leisure Centre to Hamilton Road Roundabout. A crossing of the River Teviot between Weensland and Mansfield Road to lay new ducts is imminent, with preparatory work now ongoing.

The project team has successfully managed to avoid any full closures of Mansfield Road to date and are hopeful that the additional preparatory design works being undertaken in partnership with the seven utility organisations will continue to ensure there is minimal impact for the public. In particular, the Scheme is aiming to avoid the scenario where the road is dug up on several occasions by different utility companies, as is often the case with similar construction projects.

A formal invitation to tender has now been issued to six contractors. Their tender returns are due to be received in early October 2019 and the project team intends to present a report to Scottish Borders Council’s full meeting in November with a preferred tenderer for approval.