Road disruption fears over Scottish Water repairs

It is feared that drivers will face city-wide traffic disruption as a result of the Scottish Water roadworks. Picture: Gareth Easton
It is feared that drivers will face city-wide traffic disruption as a result of the Scottish Water roadworks. Picture: Gareth Easton
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DRIVERS have been warned of traffic disruption across the Capital after Scottish Water announced it was to start work re-doing 172 road repairs which it failed to carry out properly the first time.

The utility firm is to draft in extra manpower to complete the work – along with repairs to around 675 defective manhole covers – before the end of March.

Water bosses said work would be carefully planned to keep disruption to a minimum, but motoring groups said the city council would have to be vigilant to ensure drivers did not suffer.

Scottish Water, which regularly tops the league table for poor road reinstatements, was forced to pay almost £15,000 in fines for shoddy work in the Capital for the 12 months up to March last year.

Now the city council has announced the company has agreed a programme of works which will tackle 75 per cent of the city’s total of 901 defective manholes and the 172 “defective repairs” – 40 per cent of all utilities defects in the city – in the next six weeks.

Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “It’s good news that we’re going to get some high quality repairs from Scottish Water because utility companies have a poor record for fixing things properly. It’s great if they are now willing to put right past wrongs.

“But this is going to lead to a lot of extra roadworks and the utility companies don’t have a great reputation for doing things in the most efficient way from the city’s point of view. They’re more likely to run things in the easiest way for themselves – for instance, leaving holes in the road overnight that could have been filled in; leaving traffic lights when with a bit of extra work they could have taken them off.

“Edinburgh’s inspectors need to be very much on top of this and make sure these extra roadworks are carried out in the most efficient way for Edinburgh drivers.”

Scottish Water said it recognised there were a number of defective repairs and manholes/access covers that needed attention and it had set aside considerable resources to complete the work by the end of March. It said apparatus such as manhole covers were subject to massive stresses and strains in any city with heavy traffic like Edinburgh.

Mark McEwen, Scottish Water’s customer service general manager, said: “There are sometimes occasions when manhole covers can loosen or the road surface can require attention following completion of maintenance work.

“We have been working very hard to bring down the number of these repairs as they occur, and are determined to maintain the pace of improvement.”

The council recently employed additional staff to carry out inspections of all repairs carried out by utility companies and it plans to relaunch the Edinburgh Roadworks Ahead Agreement, which would involve a working agreement between the council and the main public utility companies to minimise disruption from road and pavement works and ensure a high quality of reinstatements.

City council transport chief Lesley Hinds said: “It’s very encouraging that Scottish Water have committed to this programme of work, which will result in a vast improvement to the quality of Edinburgh’s roads. We will continue to collaborate to guarantee improvements are made to the highest quality and with minimum disruption.”