COUNCIL chiefs today pledged to take a tougher line with utility companies who cause traffic chaos by digging up roads all over the city.
Two inspectors are being taken on to concentrate full-time on checking roadworks.
Transport and environment convener Lesley Hinds said the move would mean all road openings across the Capital would be subject to inspection and utility companies would be under pressure to finish the work more quickly and restore the roads to proper condition.
It is estimated the extra officials will carry out 5250 inspections per year – a 44 per cent increase on the current total.
Cllr Hinds said: “The inspectors will help ensure the time spent on these works is minimised and there is adequate information and signage – telling people who is digging it up, why they’re doing it, how long it’s to be and a contact number.
“It’s a real frustration for people in the city – the condition the roads are left in afterwards, the time it takes and the disturbances it causes.”
The council is doubling its roads maintenance budget with an extra £12 million to tackle the city’s potholed roads.
Cllr Hinds said the largest allocation of funding would be to speed up carriageway repairs so roads currently scheduled for repair or resurfacing in two or three years could now be done next year.
The council also plans to resurface less busy side streets in a programme of “local road thin surfacing” which has seen high public satisfaction levels in pilot schemes.
Cllr Hinds said: “Instead of coming along and spending a great deal of money digging up the road, you can put a thin layer on the top and do the whole street. The cost is a lot less so it’s good value. It means you can do more roads with the money you’ve got.”
There will also be extra investment in repairs to local roads, especially in rural west Edinburgh – areas like Kirkliston and South Queensferry –which often have to wait much longer than roads elsewhere.
Another focus of attention is to be pavement improvements in local shopping areas.
Cobbled streets will also get a new lease of life, with Frederick Street in the New Town and Brighton Place, Portobello, singled out. Tar patches would be removed and the setts underneath repaired or replaced.
And a boost in spending on cycling in the Capital will include investment in two major cycleway projects.
Transport vice-convener Jim Orr said: “We’re going to upgrade the route from Roseburn to the Forth Bridge so you can cycle from Queensferry into town. There is a pathway at the moment but it is patchy.
“And we’re going to have a high-quality cycle path in the Meadows.”