Council’s ‘quick fix’ road repairs branded ‘a waste of money’

The surface of Craigcrook Road is breaking up. Picture: Contributed
The surface of Craigcrook Road is breaking up. Picture: Contributed
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COUNCIL chiefs have been urged to think again about their “quick fix” road repairs after claims they are leaving streets in a worse state than before.

Last year the “surface dressing” technique – which involves spraying the road with bitumen and covering it with stone chippings – left cars covered in dust and people coughing and spluttering.

This year, road surfaces have started breaking up just weeks after being treated and other streets are said to have humps, presenting a trip hazard. or loose chippings flying in all directions as cars drive past.

Edinburgh Western Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said in Craigcrook Road in Blackhall, the road surface was breaking up and called on the council to reconsider the current approach.

Two years ago councillors were told surface dressing was a more preventative, less expensive treatment which would improve the condition of the carriageway, delay the need for resurfacing and, due to the cheaper cost, allow more roads to be treated each year.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Edinburgh residents will be understandably dismayed that just a matter of weeks after this new road dressing was applied it appears to be breaking up.

“This quick fix to the city’s pothole problem needs to be rethought entirely. And you can’t help wondering how much money has been wasted on this city-wide enterprise.

“Last year the mix was wrong and it was too dusty. This time it’s not dusty – but people said it didn’t really deal with the potholes and now the material has been forced into humps which present a trip hazard.

“It’s like a big bed of gravel and the traffic in each direction pushes it into a little hill in the middle.

“The frost has got under it and lifted it and it has broken up. The situation now is worse than the dilapidated roads it was designed to fix.”

Tory transport spokesman Nick Cook said he had been contacted by residents in Braid Farm Road complaining the roller used by contractors had failed to embed the stone chips in the bitumen surface with the result sharp stones were flying in all directions when cars passed.

Cllr Cook said: “Residents have highlighted significant issues with this surface treatment method in various locations across the city.”

“It is essential surface treatments like this must only be used in appropriate circumstances and not as a ‘quick fix’ which ends up costing taxpayers more money in the long run. Given the obvious quality control issues, the council must take firmer action to ensure the integrity of these works.

A council spokeswoman said: “Surface dressing is a preventative treatment used throughout Scotland to treat roads with minor defects, mitigating the need for road resurfacing for up to 10 years.”

She said roads where problems were identified would be investigated and if repairs were necessary they would be carried out by contractors under warranty.