Sunday, September 16, 2007

Rough Road Ahead

Our house is on a small country road. When we moved here the road was really only used by us and the people who actually lived here, with the exception of cattle movements and deliveries. Grass grew in the few cracks and when you looked up and down the road, it seemed as though Mother Nature was trying to claim it back. Recently however, it has been very busy. So busy in fact that it is not safe for me to walk the dog along our road. There are too many large lorries (trucks) rumbling along.

About two and half miles north of us is a gravel quarry. When we first moved to Whitelees Cottage, the gravel quarry was inactive. Then the owner of the quarry retired and passed it along to one of his sons. The son, full of the enthusiasm of youth, got the required permission and re-opened the quarry. For us this meant that hulking great gravel lorries up and down our quiet little lane. It wasn't as bad as it sounds though. There were just a few lorries a day and they were extremely respectful of the road. They slowed down near houses and waited in passing places for us to go by with our cars so that the soft mud verges of the roads wouldn't be ripped up with their big wheels and tons of weight.

Then a couple of things happened. First, there was a landslip near a bridge on the back road between us, the gravel quarry and Lockerbie. This required the lorries to do all their trips back and forth on our road.

Secondly the work began to install some new wind turbines on a hill near here. All the heavy equipment, gravel, and concrete is going right in front of our house along this narrow country road.

The other non-local drivers are not nearly as courteous as the gravel quarry drivers. They barrel along our road at top speeds. The sides of the roads are a mess and they start SO early! Sometimes they can be heard rumbling by as early as 05:30! They're using the area in front of our house as a passing place, right in front of George's bedroom. It's just not on.

You can see the red lorry from the local gravel quarry coming down the road. It was a driver named Kenny who always smiles and waves to us.

Also noticeable is the fact that every time they do a patch job on the potholes, the road seems to get just a little bit wider and closer to the house.

We've put up some painted concrete blocks along the verge here to prevent our grass from being reduced to a unusable muddy mess and now we've put a plastic barrier to prevent them from using the front of our house as a passing place. I know it seems mean spirited, but that's where our son sleeps.

The other day, just as I was pulling out of our drive, I spied a Roads Department guy walking around looking at the damage on the road.

"Is this Whitelees Cottage?"

"Yes it is. Can I help you?"

"We've had a report of big pot holes here and I've come to have a look at them."

After a discussion about why the roads are so ripped up, the Roads Department Guy has said that by next week, the bridge will be back in use and at the end of October, the wind turbines will have been installed and no further heavy equipment will need to come in front of our house for that.

The Roads Department are then going to be repairing our road properly and restoring the road to its proper width as well. Lets hope that is an end to it.

George learned to ride a bike on this road. His older brothers used to play football and Frisbee on the road as it was so quiet. We could hear cars coming from a long way off and the cars would be driving at a normal rate of speed. It would be wonderful if things could get back to that.

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