‘It seems that we are in for a bumpy ride’

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motorists won’t know whether to laugh or cry today at the prospect of routine road repairs virtually grinding to a halt in the Capital for the next three months.

The city has emergency plans to cope with any severe weather- related patch-up work but otherwise the money for this year has been pretty much spent.

Some drivers will be tempted to whoop with joy at the prospect of a rare run along roadworks-free streets – at least those that are not still being dug up by trams workers or utility companies.

But that will inevitably be tempered by the knowledge that there will be potholes aplenty to dodge along the way.

Anyone who drives regularly on Edinburgh’s roads will tell you there is still an awful lot of work needing done to bring them up to scratch.

A snapshot survey conducted by AA members earlier this year even suggested that our streets were the worst in Scotland when judged on a range of problems from pot holes to dog dirt.

That may or may not be true, but it does highlight the fact that record investment in road repairs by the city council in recent years has only put a dent in the massive backlog of work that needs to be done.

With potentially years of public spending cuts ahead, it seems we are in for a very bumpy ride indeed.

But there is something that can be done apart from throwing more money at the council’s maintenance budget.

The Scottish Road Works Commissioner John Gooday has powers to fine utility companies that carry out shoddy road repairs up to £50,000.

It is time that he proved he has teeth and used them. That way we might begin to stop our roads getting in such a state in the first place.

Hospice hope

It’s great to see St Columba’s Hospice making its first steps towards becoming a facility fit for the future with the completion of its education centre.

Scores of medical staff and students will visit the centre every year to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to provide first-class palliative care across the Lothians and beyond.

It is an impressive building, and the first tangible result of the huge rebuild project so it will be an especially welcome sight for all those readers who so generously supported our Build a Brick Campaign over the last 18 months. You can still donate to the campaign if you’ve not already done so – see www.bluedove.org.uk for details.