Introducing Pothole Pete who is on a mission to find Edinburgh and the Lothians' worst divots and potholes
Meet Pothole Pete, the new champion of Lothian’s “crumbling” roads who will bring their horrendous state to the eyes of those who have the power to fix it.
The reveal of Pothole Pete comes as the Evening News launches a new campaign to highlight the worst of the Capital’s roads and the need for more investment to reduce the impact of potholes, divots and broken surfaces which cause thousands of pounds of damage every year.
Exclusive figures provided to the newspaper by the AA show that more than 9,000 potholes could have been fixed if two large roadwork schemes had not overspent.
Two major roadworks schemes, on the A7 bridge corridor and at Craigentinny Road and Wakefield Avenue, went overbudget by £550,000.
With the AA claiming a pothole costs £60 to repair, that amount could pay for 9,166 potholes to be fixed.
Councils have also seen budgets for road repairs slashed by 20 per cent since 2010 as spending on services including education, child protection and social care has been protected.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA says: “Scottish roads are crumbling and in desperate need of investment to improve journey times and ease congestion.
“However, when Edinburgh roadworks overran and overspent more than half a million pounds on two schemes alone, there is little wonder there isn’t sufficient cash available.
“Had the planned budgets been correct, the overspend could have filled more than 9,000 potholes. Residents of the city will be now wondering if their Council Tax will increase again, just to fulfil poor budgeting.”
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Road maintenance in Scotland appears to be lagging behind England. While concerns about the condition of local roads remain in England, drivers there appear to be slightly more positive in contrast to those north of the border who are still frustrated by pothole-ridden roads.
“Research for the RAC’s annual Report on Motoring has found 58% of Scottish drivers think the state of local roads has worsened in the last 12 months, whereas in England this figure is 10% lower. Additionally, the condition and maintenance of local roads is named as one the top overall motoring concerns by 41% of Scottish drivers, compared to 33% of those in England and 27% of Welsh drivers.
“Scotland, and it seems Edinburgh in particular, have a lot of work to do to fix the roads and restore drivers’ faith. Motorists contribute many millions in the form of tax so understandably feel totally short-changed when they’re forced to drive on surfaces which resemble assault courses more than they do roads.
Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “We welcome any small contribution ‘Pothole Pete’ plans to make toward improving the condition of our roads – it’s an extremely important matter for us as a Council too.
“What’s more, our performance repairing defects is steadily improving – last year our roads condition rating was, in fact, above the Scottish average. And contrary to reports, our repair performance for category one potholes is at between 95 and 100 per cent.
“We appreciate any information on issues across the city, and would encourage the public to report defects online.”
How Pothole Pete was made
For artist Chris Rutterford, there is no task too big, or too small.
The mural painter from Edinburgh, who has contributed to several of the Capital’s most loved murals, was given the task of creating Pothole Pete.
Mr Rutterford said: “The gnome was actually a foul-mouthed character and was giving us the birdy initially, so I had to cut his hand off.
“I then made the ruler out of a coat hanger and moulded a new hand out of a mix of epoxy and plasticene so he was holding the ruler straight.
“I marked up the ruler so it looked as real as possible and painted on the Evening News masthead before varnishing and putting the final touches to Pete.
“My poor van gets a pounding so anything I can do for the cause, I am delighted to help.”
He added: “I seem to be on a run of 3D models at the moment. I have been doing quite a lot of this sort of stuff and I really enjoy it.”
“When I was a kid I did a lot of painted lead figures and a lot of those skills are coming in useful 30 years on.”
More details about Mr Rutterford’s work including his murals and models as well as how to commission him, can be found on his website, www.chrisrutterford.com.