Edinburgh potholes: 12 vehicles suffer burst tyres over one weekend on Lanark Road West in Balerno

State of Edinburgh road ‘nothing short of catastrophe’

Councillor Graeme Bruce says the road is "an utter shambles".
Councillor Graeme Bruce says the road is "an utter shambles".

Up to a dozen vehicles ended up with burst tyres in one weekend as a result of potholes on a stretch of road in Balerno, a councillor has claimed.

Pentland Hills Conservative councillor Graeme Bruce said he had gone to the aid of motorists who had fallen victim to the “craters” on Lanark Road West between Bridge Road and Ravelrig Hill, which was “a nightmare – full of potholes”, and spent two hours helping them change their tyres.

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Earlier this month, the Evening News revealed Edinburgh council had received 1,100 claims for compensation for damage to vehicles caused by potholes over the last three years and paid out a total of just over £26,000. There were 404 claims in 2019/20, 323 in 2020/21 and 373 in 2021/22. Some claims are still being considered, but of those dealt with, a total of 125 resulted in a compensation payment while 800 were rejected

Lanark Road West is "more pothole than road" between Bridge Road and Ravelrig Hill, says Cllr Bruce.

Transport convener Scott Arthur has acknowledged the condition of the Capital’s roads is unacceptable and the council is planning to invest in a machine which has been dubbed a “pothole killer” to allow the council to repair potholes faster and to a higher standard.

‘More pothole than road’

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Councillor Bruce said: "The state of Lanark Road West in Balerno between the traffic lights and Ravelrig Hill is nothing short of a catastrophe – it is more pothole than road. There were 30 to 40 potholes reported several weeks ago but the council have done nothing. This weekend there were about a dozen vehicles strewn all over the road in question with burst tyres. I spent a couple of hours on Sunday night helping people to change their tyres.

"This road is in dire need of resurfacing, but as much as I complain to officers they write back and tell me that there is no funding and last March it was assessed resulting in no action and will not feature in their 2023/24 capital programme resurfacing work. The situation for cars is bad enough, I shudder to think what would happen if a cyclist hit one of these craters. The road is an utter shambles. And the trouble is when they do fill them in, it just disintegrates and, especially here in Balerno because we’re high up, they just break up and the pothole becomes bigger and the road’s a mess.”

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Up to a dozen vehicles suffered burst tyres over last weekend, according to Councilllor Bruce.

The “pothole killer” – officially a JCB Pothole Pro – is already in use by several other Scottish councils, including Scottish Borders, Fife, North Lanarkshire and Highland. The manufacturers claim if can carry out repairs in a quarter of the time at half the cost. The council plans to rent at least one of the machines for a year and if it proves satisfactory the authority would then buy it.

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‘Too little too late’

Cllr Bruce said: "I'm pleased to see that Councillor Arthur has finally come around to supporting modern and innovative pothole repair methods. It's too little too late though and a real shame that he and his SNP/Labour colleagues in the previous administration were unable to support such a suggestion when the Edinburgh Conservatives first proposed it in our budget four years ago and again every year since. The warning signs were there long ago as was the solution. Cllr Arthur is as guilty for the council's inaction as his much-maligned predecessor Cllr Macinnes.”

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Cllr Arthur said: “In this particular area of Lanark Road West we have made safe 17 potholes since January 1st this year. Due to increased reports, we have allocated additional inspection resources to the area. We aim to inspect reports as quickly as possible and target an inspection withing five working days, and categorise and prioritise our defects to ensure that the worst potholes are actioned first. It’s essential that we direct limited resources where needed, so our roads continue to be usable and safe. I acknowledge that road maintenance in Edinburgh is underfunded, and I hope to work with other political parties to address this in the coming budget.

“I know how frustrating road defects like potholes can be for all road users, and we recently redirected additional resources in light of the volume of enquiries currently coming through. This general increase in enquires has been worsened by the prolonged cold weather in mid to late December followed by torrential rain on the 30th December and then continued wet weather.”