Edinburgh roads: Council set to buy a "pothole killer" machine to improve condition of city's roads

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Edinburgh ‘pothole capital of Europe’ claims MSP

Council chiefs are planning to invest in a specialist machine nicknamed the “pothole killer” in a bid to improve the condition of Edinburgh’s roads.

Senior transport officials from the city council have watched the JCB Pothole Pro in action and believe it can make an impact on the growing number of potholes on roads across the Capital. The plan emerged as Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs branded Edinburgh the “pothole capital of Europe”, highlighting the thousands paid out by the council in compensation for vehicles damaged by potholes.

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JCB, the company which makes the Pothole Pro, boasts the machine – which combines the functions of several different pieces of equipment – can carry out repairs in a quarter of the time at half the cost, repairing a pothole in just eight minutes and for £30 a time instead of £60. 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. It is understood the Pothole Pro costs around £165,000 or can be hired for £600 a month. Other councils in Scotland, including Scottish Borders, Fife, North Lanarkshire and Highland, are already using the machine.

The JCB Pothole Pro, also known as the 'pothole killer', is already in use at several other councils in Scotland.The JCB Pothole Pro, also known as the 'pothole killer', is already in use at several other councils in Scotland.
The JCB Pothole Pro, also known as the 'pothole killer', is already in use at several other councils in Scotland.

The Evening News reported earlier this month how the council 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. Mr Briggs returned to the issue and called for the Scottish Government to set up a pothole fund. He said: “Edinburgh has now become the pothole capital of Europe and the poor condition of the capital’s road is an ongoing issue. Motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians are reporting more and more potholes and local roads in a worse condition than I can remember. Potholes are unsafe for all road users, especially cyclists. The number of claims for car damage has skyrocketed in the last few years with a compensation claim almost every day on average.”

Transport convener Scott Arthur says another £8 million needs to be invested in repairs just to halt the current decline in the condition of the roads. He said: "We recognise that the condition of the roads in Edinburgh isn't what it should be and road maintenance is grossly underfunded. As part of the budget next month we’re open to working with other parties to find funding to improve the situation. As part of our response to the problem we hope to invest in a Pothole Pro, which should enable us to undertake repairs faster and to a higher standard.

“The Pothole Pro is made in the UK and it's basically a JCB with a Swiss army knife array of attachments on it which are used to dig out the pothole, and clean up the area ready for the staff to turn up with tarmac. Our belief is that it will enable us to do more with the same amount of money.”