COURIER drivers driven potty by our clapped-out thoroughfares have named and shamed their ten worst traffic black-spots – likening the worst of our pockmarked carriageways to patchwork Munros.
West Port, Charlotte Square and the West Approach Road have been named by delivery drivers at Eagle Couriers as having some of the worst potholes and broken surfaces in the city.
The couriers drew up their list of shame after suffering colossal levels of damage to their delivery van fleet.
Over the past year the fleet’s bill for replacement tyres and shock absorbers has averaged out at £300 per van – a total of £24,000 a year for its 80 drivers – and a worrying trend that is sure to resonate with the thousands of fed-up motorist who gingerly thread their way down the Capital’s roads on a daily basis.
Company van driver of 20 years June Dyer, 55, who helped pull together the list, said the roads have been getting worse in the opinion of all her colleagues.
“The state of the roads is an absolute disgrace,” the Musselburgh-based worker said. “I like to think I know where all the potholes are so I can avoid them but new ones spring up all the time – you can’t avoid them.”
June hopes this map will tip off commuters and school run mums while prompting the council to fix them.
The list pours scorn on West Port, between the traffic lights at Lady Lawson Street to the Grassmarket, saying it is littered with potholes and loose, rutted surfaces.
The drivers say potholes are also a big problem on the West Approach Road, on Great Junction Street, Corstorphine High Street and at the Hermiston Gait roundabout.
Westfield Road has problems with its road surfacing – despite being relaid twice in recent months – and there are problems with utility covers on Charlotte Square, Sir Harry Lauder Road, Walker Street North and the Calder Road.
Company director Jerry Stewart is clear more needs to be done – especially given the fact payouts to motorists appear to be rising.
Since 2008, Capital drivers have received more than £140,000 in payouts, making Edinburgh the fifth highest council in Scotland for payouts over the last five years, with the Scotland-wide total more than £3.5 million.
Mr Stewart said: “The biggest problem is the repairs are sub-standard. Often all that has been done is a bag of Tarmac with some resin is poured into the hole, and a couple of dunts with a hammer or so-called levelling tool and there we have it: we’re left with something resembling a patchwork quilt the height of a Munro.”
Brian MacDowall of the Association of British Motorists said: “Money is clearly being spent in the wrong areas and the motorist, who has to pay for the damage to his vehicle, is being penalised. Drivers should have access to a road surface that is safe and adequate.”
In June, the council announced plans to tackle a blacklist of potholed thoroughfares with £12m of funding. Details of the works emerged months after the city elected to double its roads budget to a record £26m.
The city’s transport chief Lesley Hinds said: “I am acutely aware that repairing roads and pavements is one of the top priorities for residents.
“This year, in addition to the £14m already set aside for this, we will invest an additional £12m as well as ensuring utility companies reinstate work properly.”
Crumbling... but Capital has made inroads into holes
PLANS for a £26 million overhaul of the city’s crumbling roads network were announced earlier this year.
As well as upgrades to well-worn routes including Queensferry Road and Fountainbridge, a revamp of 25 pavements and footpaths is to get under way after the council doubled its roads’ budget.
Areas around tram stops at York Place, Frederick Street, Hanover Street and Shandwick Place will also be given a face-lift. Edinburgh has been fighting to overturn its tarnished reputation as a pothole hotspot after being ranked 23rd out of 32 Scottish councils for road conditions in 2006.
Last year, it had leapt ten places to 13th.