FRUSTRATED traders have hit out at the city council after a massive pothole which suddenly opened up on a busy road caused a day of chaos.
Motorists faced diversions while delivery drivers struggled to reach shops as civil engineers spent hours examining and repairing the damage in Forrest Road.
The three foot-deep crater opened on Tuesday night, with one driver – 73-year-old Jean Lugton – having to be pulled free from her Vauxhall Corsa by a group of passing students after the vehicle became trapped.
Business owners in the street said the appearance of the pothole had not come as a surprise and questioned the council’s maintenance of the troubled site.
Post Office manager Mohammed Arshab, who both works and lives on the street, said his trade had suffered.
He said: “The road has been pretty bad for potholes down the years.
“I’ve not had any milk delivered, in fact I’ve not even got the Evening News.
“I actually can’t get my car out of the street as it’s parked round the back.
“Even if I got out, it might mean that I wouldn’t get back in.”
Rebecca Laing, 30, from Cafe Rudi, added: “The hole has actually appeared on the same spot as a previous pothole. This street often gets potholes.”
Engineers appeared on the scene early yesterday and spent much of the day patching up the two-foot wide hole, understood to have been caused by a “historic leak” leading to subsidence beneath the carriageway.
The road remained closed, meaning there was no through route from Tollcross to George IV Bridge via Lauriston Place, with motorists facing significant traffic disruption.
Lothian Buses services had to be diverted via Lauriston Place and Lady Lawson Street.
A total of £16 million is to be spent in the Capital this year repairing potholes, pavements and roads – roughly the same budget as in previous years.
The Evening News recently revealed that potholes topped the list of complaints from Edinburgh residents in a recent council survey.
The city council has paid out more than £102,054 over the past five years to drivers whose vehicles have been damaged by potholes. Meanwhile, across Scotland, pothole payouts are costing councils £1600 a day, with compensation varying for repairs such as burst tyres and damaged suspensions.
Robert Oxley, campaign director of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Councils need to do a better a job of looking after the roads to avoid situations like this.
“Failure to fix potholes can end up costing taxpayers more in the long run as drivers make compensation claims for damage to vehicles. Given how much motorists pay in tax, they have every right to expect that the roads are kept in good condition.”
A city council spokesman said: “The road has now reopened as the hole has been fixed.
“It is thought the cause may have been a historic leak.”