A DEDICATED squad has been created to carry out a £180,000 “blitz” on the Capital’s worst potholes.
Creation of the “pothole patrol”, which will focus on the city centre and south Edinburgh, comes amid warnings that an exceptionally wet and stormy winter has left roads in a worse state than ever.
George Street, the Bridges, South Clerk Street and Morningside Road are among key thoroughfares and arterial routes set for improvement.
Transport bosses have pledged repairs will be “right first time”.
Work is scheduled to begin this month and will last until the end of spring, they added.It has also emerged that the number of specialist teams responsible for emergency or “make safe” jobs has increased from three to seven, with a further two due to be brought in from Monday.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport leader, said: “We recognise an increase in the number of potholes across the city over winter and now we’re addressing the issue.
“In addition to our ongoing roads repair programme, we are focusing our resources on a dedicated team of staff to manage our road repairs. This will allow us to target the city’s problem areas by getting permanent repairs right first time, which will reduce disruption.”
She added: “We’re also boosting our temporary repairs team to respond to emergency potholes and defects in order to ensure the safety of all road users, which is our number one priority, complementing our ongoing programme of road and pavement improvements across the city.”
Roads campaigners, community leaders and taxi industry representatives welcomed the funding boost.
But they said it indicated that previous approaches to tackling crumbling city roads had failed.Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “It’s been a bad winter.
“I’ve been hearing from lots of different Scottish councils about the state of the roads after the rain, and we’ve had frosts as well. This does effectively show that the long-term policy of improving Edinburgh’s roads has not worked yet.
“If ‘right first time’ had worked over the last couple of years, we might not have needed this emergency team.
“But the money should have an impact. If they’re targeting specific areas, drivers should notice the difference.”
Tony Kenmuir, director of Central Taxis, also expressed support for the investment, which he said was desperately needed. “In my view the roads in Edinburgh are worse than ever,” he added. “I drive around a lot and see potholes all over the place. If they’re looking to deal with the worst potholes, that’s good news.
“Some of the taxi drivers are reporting cracked wheels, and that’s from bumping over potholes. It’s something we have never heard of before.”
Audrey Cavaye, secretary at New Town and Broughton Community Council, questioned whether the right roads were being targeted.
She said: “Queen Street is bad, Charlotte Square is bad, and the top of Frederick Street is atrocious. I’m not convinced they’ve chosen [the right roads], certainly not based on my experience of George Street.”