Edinburgh’s roads at ‘breaking point’ as new pothole complaint made every 20 minutes

Edinburgh’s roads are “reaching breaking point” with a pothole being reported to the city council every 20 minutes in 2018.

A Freedom of Information request from the Scottish Conservatives has revealed the worrying extent of the Capital’s pothole-plagued streets, which could cost up to £4 million to permanently rectify.

A total of 27,610 potholes were brought to the attention of Edinburgh City Council last year – equivalent to 74 complaints a day.

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The council says it annually tackles around 27,500 potholes, ploughing an average of £1,161,150 into reactive fixing while an addition £600,000 is spent on permanent patching.

Potholes are being reported every 20 minutes in the Capital. Picture: TSPL

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During 2017/18, the council failed every month to hit its 90 per cent target for making emergency road defects safe within 24 hours.

The authority’s Corporate Performance Report showed it achieved an average success rate of 53 per cent each month. That figure plummeted to just 35 per cent in November 2017.

A temporary fix for potholes in the city has been valued at £20, meaning it would cost £550,000 to repair the 27,500 the authority deals with.

Meanwhile a permanent repair can cost between £75-£150, which would see the bill rise to between £2,062,500 – £4,125,000.

Liberal Democrat councillor Kevin Lang said the latest figures suggested the Capital’s roads were a “serious safety breach”.

He said: “I think the figures are shocking but it underlines a problem for years of the administration ultimately not getting the basics right.

“We know Edinburgh has some of the most pot-holed and damaged streets anywhere in Scotland.

“It leaves cyclists, pedestrians and motorists with dangerous road surfaces which are at risk of causing serious accidents.

“In last year’s budget vote, the Liberal Democrat group brought forward a fully costed plan to invest millions more into fixing potholes and increasing the range of resurfacing projects. But the administration voted it down.

“One of the problems is the temporary fixes often don’t work and get broken up within days of the work being done meaning the council has to go back again. It is a complete and utter waste of public money. If we’re to get to grips with this problem, we need to invest more money. It’s now ultimately a serious safety breach.

“Until there is a fundamental change in attitude I fear these figures are just going to get worse.”

The Evening News reported last month that insurance provider The Insurance Emporium found Edinburgh to be the pothole Capital of the UK – with drivers dodging the equivalent of one every 14 metres.

Figures show there were 112,619 potholes reported in the city between January 2015 and April 2018, representing 73 per kilometre.

A total of 375 claims were lodged against the council last year in relation to pothole incidents, almost tripling the quantity from the 12 months previous.

The authority forked out £9,415 in compensation in 2017 – which has hiked up to £20,244.75 to date for 2018, with some cases still yet to be settled.

Lothian MSP Miles Briggs said: “The number of reported potholes across Edinburgh and the Lothians is very concerning and a safety hazard for motorists, cyclists and other road users.

“The extent of damage caused by potholes can be seen by a tripling of compensation claims against pothole damage to Edinburgh, Midlothian and West Lothian Councils.

“SNP Ministers continued cuts to council budgets has meant that well maintained road infrastructure is not getting the investment it needs.

“Significant investment is needed to repair roads across the region, with Edinburgh council estimating between £2 to £4 million to repair potholes and Midlothian Council estimating up to £24 million for all road repairs.

“The Scottish Conservatives launched our ‘Save Our Roads’ campaign this summer, which pledges £100 million for a Pothole Action Fund to properly invest in well maintained roads.”

In December it was revealed how Edinburgh’s road repairs backlog could take two years to clear.

Transport and environment vice convener, councillor Karen Doran, said the Beast from the East has left a legacy of damaged surfaces.

She added: “Keeping our roads and pavements fit for purpose is a real priority for us and, of course the public.

I wholeheartedly appreciate the frustration potholes and poor road surfaces cause pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike – that’s why we invest many millions of pounds every year to maintain and enhance our citywide network.”