Jun 8 2012 by Craig Robertson, Dumfries Standard Friday
THE UPGRADE of the A75 should be done in baby Oliver’s memory.
That’s the emotional message being delivered to the Scottish Government by the parents of the 18-day-old boy who was tragically killed on the route.
Parents Suzanne and Eddie have signed the Standard’s petition to demand a start to the £10 million improvement scheme between Hardgrove and Kinmount.
And they want the politicians to stop shifting the blame and take action.
Eddie said: “We feel that if the road was done it would be a lasting legacy to his life.
“He wasn’t here for very long but since, in every single thing we try to do, we do our absolute best for him.
“Whatever we do, it is for him.
“And we’ve said we need to look after each other, for him.
“We want the road to be done, for him.
“Maybe that’s selfish but that’s what we think.”
The 2.2-mile stretch of the A75 between Hardgrove and Kinmount, near Carrutherstown, has been the centre of upgrade plans for 15 years.
And a £10 million scheme, which is just waiting on the green light, has twice been put off by the Scottish Government since 2008.
They now blame funding cuts and cash being held back from Westminster for a lack of money to do the work.
But they say it’s “shovel-ready”.
Young Oliver’s death in March happened on a part of the road that under the upgrade proposal would be used mainly for farm traffic.
His parents had this message for the Scottish Government which has the responsibility for the road.
Eddie said: “If they want to protect the lives of local people, action must be taken on that road. Another life will be lost, so why wait until it is lost? It is too late already anyway.
“We don’t care where the money is coming from, all we want is a safer life for us, our friends and family and our neighbours.”
Suzanne said: “Surely it is worth it? We don’t want anyone to have to go through what we’ve gone through.
“They’ve had the money and haven’t spent it. If they delay it and delay it, it is just going to go up in price, so why not do it now?”
Suzanne was left with head injuries, a broken wrist, whiplash and broken teeth after the accident.
Despite travelling thousands of miles around the country in her job as an accountant, the horrific accident happened within reach of her home.
Eddie said: “Five days a week from the day we moved here, she was doing loads of miles, all those miles yet the accident happened right on our doorstep which is unbelievable.
“There is bad driving on the road but the road itself doesn’t help.”
Eddie, who sometimes has to walk farm stock across the road, added: “I have to work in among it every day at the farm on both sides of the road and Suzanne has to drive by it.
“We have already heard people say ‘it is not the road it is the drivers’ – but if they lost a son or someone on their doorstep, I’m quite sure they would want something done about it.
“We have to think selfishly about ourselves and think, we need this change or we are never going to feel safe.
“I walk up and down to the farm and you hear sirens on the road and it always makes you think about that night or who is it now? It makes you think how we felt when it was our accident, it makes you think is it someone else’s poor loved one this time? But it definitely will happen again, sooner rather than later.”