Pothole pandemic: Edinburgh's roads compared to '˜Third World'

EDINBURGH is in the grip of a pothole 'pandemic' with drivers claiming the Capital's roads are the worst in the UK and 'almost like the Third World'.

Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 6:00 am
Potholes in Sleigh Drive, Craigentinny

Freezing winter weather has already taken its toll on roads across the city and with another icy blast forecast, motorists are braced for the situation to get worse before it gets better.

But taxi drivers say the roads are in a terrible state regardless of the weather.

Tony Kenmuir, chairman of Central Taxis, said: “There is no doubt that as potholes appear every winter it has a big effect on taxis and we all find ourselves spending more money on suspension parts.

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Potholes in Sleigh Drive, Craigentinny

“But the roads are just shocking on an ongoing basis. When you’re taking people to and from the airport along the Corstorphine corridor and they’re visitors to Edinburgh and you’re bumping around all over the place it doesn’t give a good impression of the city.

“There are potholes everywhere, but on major arterial routes you feel it’s unforgivable.”

And he criticised the council’s cost-saving “surface dressing” road repairs.

“We know the council is struggling financially and they don’t have an infinite amount of money to throw at the roads.

Potholes in Sleigh Drive, Craigentinny

“But it’s wallpapering over the cracks. The same potholes seem to come back every year.”

Readers used Evening News social media sites to nominate the city’s worst streets for potholes and describe their own experiences.

Heather Macfarlane Tasoren said: “I’ve just moved to Edinburgh from Singapore and have been really shocked at the state of the roads here. Almost like a Third World country.”

And Azad Bamernî said: “It’s amazing how the roads are better almost anywhere in the UK. Almost worth living somewhere like Musselburgh simply because the council is better yet you’re still near Edinburgh.”

Tory transport spokesman Nick Cook said winter always posed a challenge for the condition of city roads. But he said: “It’s not credible to suggest a short spell of winter weather is the cause of the poor condition of our 
carriageways.

“For too long the council’s rhetoric has failed to match the reality. Too many residents feel there is a pothole pandemic affecting the city.”

Neil Greig from the Institute of Advanced Motorists said it did seem a particularly bad winter for potholes.

He said: “If a city’s infrastructure looks poorly cared for that’s not a good image. The council should be ashamed by the state of some of the roads because they are so poor and because of the sheer scale of the problem.

“It’s not going to be solved overnight – it’s a long-term issue and it needs long-term guaranteed funding.”

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said the council appreciate the frustration potholes caused to road users. “That’s why we continue to invest millions of pounds each year to maintain and improve Edinburgh’s roads network.

“Winter weather does pose a challenge for roads maintenance, but we’re working hard to address issues – right now we have four squads out treating defects across the city. By taking a preventative approach, tackling roads which are starting to deteriorate using less expensive treatments, we’re also able to improve more of the network.”

The council received 146 claims last year for damage due to potholes. So far 53 have been successful, resulting in a pay-out of £10,140.54.