WORKMEN are being drafted in to carry out night-time repairs on the York Place diversion route after 13 days of traffic.
Transport bosses had hoped that the route – taking in Albany Street, Abercromby Place and Heriot Row – would offer motorists a smooth journey from the west to the east of the city over the course of the next 16 months.
However, Albany Street residents, who have witnessed an extra 1000 cars an hour pass their door following the closure of York Place due to tram works, have been left stunned to find more than a dozen new potholes emerging on the street less than a week after cars, taxis and HGVs were rerouted down it.
Earlier this week the Evening News revealed how council leaders were considering lifting their car ban on Princes Street in an effort to alleviate congestion problems on the once peaceful New Town streets.
They have now confirmed they will have to carry out repairs to Albany Street as a result of the damage being caused by the extra traffic.
The work will be carried out overnight to avoid the need to close off part of the narrow street, and potentially causing yet more problems in the area.
Albany Street resident Alex Watts said: “The street has deteriorated rapidly over the last week. There are a number of new potholes on the road, with dislodged tarmac and stones lying all about.
“You can see by the size of the trucks the reason why this is happening. My fear is not only that vehicles could skid or swerve around these potholes but that their tyres are firing out loose chunks of tarmac and that these could injure pedestrians.
“If the council do eventually see sense and reverse their decision then the first thing they’ll have to do is resurface the entire street.”
It is understood that repairs to the road surface are set to be carried out in the coming days but the street will not be closed as result.
Recent heavy rain twinned with the increased traffic was given as the main reason for the road’s rapid deterioration. A council spokesman said: “We are aware of some damage to the tarmac on Albany Street and will make the repairs necessary to improve the road surface.”
Tim Shallcross, head of technical policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) said the need for roadworks so soon only served to highlight the council’s “short-sighted planning”.
He said: “Residential streets are not built to the same specifications as main thoroughfares so it is not surprising that these streets cannot withstand it.
“Common sense would suggest that this route could not take such sustained heavy traffic for over a year but the fact it’s deteriorating after less than a week is rather worrying.
“It all sounds like rather short-sighted planning on the part of the council. When considering long-term roadworks, there needs to be a bit more thought given to the diversion route.
“Either the road should have been strengthened beforehand or a better more durable route found to cope with the stresses and strains of this level of traffic.”
The council received a flood of complaints from residents all along the diversion route within just days of it being implemented, with many claiming that the balance was wrongly set in favour of motorists and not local residents. This was only reinforced earlier this week when council bosses said they felt the route to be “running very smoothly”.