These ones are a hole lot worse

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AND we thought our craters were huge. After the Evening News picked a top ten of the city’s potholes, we asked readers if they knew any deeper, wider and generally more hazardous holes.

The News has been swamped with calls from people across the Capital pointing out offending craters on the city’s streets.

From South Queensferry to Leith, outraged motorists have highlighted a range of potholes which, in some cases, have measured up to five metres long and nine inches deep. And many have said that, despite reporting them to the council, nothing has been done.

One of the worst holes that has been reported is the five-metre long, nine-inch deep monster by a bus stop opposite Silverknowes Golf Club. James Swany, 68, from Royston, believes that it is the biggest pothole in the Capital.

He says: "This pothole is unbelievable and puts the other potholes in your article to shame. It’s in the bus lay-by and the buses used to be able to drive over it.

"But now it’s so deep that the front carriage of the bus touches the ground if they try to go over it, so they have to avoid the hole completely. The buses now have to stop on the road because they can’t actually pull up by the bus stop anymore."

"It’s there just waiting for people to fall into it and I’ve just about gone in there before myself. It’s been there for about two and a half years and it’s an absolute disgrace."

Another main offender is a stretch of road in South Queensferry, which nearby resident Alexander Murray, 79, pointed out.

He says Morrison Gardens in South Queensferry houses some of the worst potholes he has ever seen, and adds that they have been there for more than four years and have not been repaired.

He adds: "It must be one of the worst stretches of road in Edinburgh, and I think the potholes here are appalling. There’s also a road between Chapelgate and Dalmeny which is covered with dangerous potholes. There are just so many to choose from.

"All the council do is come along and shovel in some tar which doesn’t work. We keep complaining, but it happens again and again. The quality of the tar they use these days to repair these holes is really, really poor and I think the state of Edinburgh’s roads in general is absolutely appalling."

Rodger Laing, 64, from Dalkeith, fell victim to a pothole earlier this month. Whilst driving along the Wisp area of the city one rainy evening, he drove slowly over what he thought was a puddle, but it turned out to be a pothole which cost him over 140 in repair work for his vehicle. He explains: "I had slowed right down to go over this puddle and then I heard this awful bang as the car went right down. The suspension hit the ground and afterwards the steering wheel started shaking. I didn’t feel safe so I immediately went to a garage to get it seen to.

"The garage revealed that I needed to renew my two tyres at the front and also that I had burst the outer walls of the tyres. He knew without me saying that it was because I had driven into a pothole.

"The council have patched it up now, but the tar is of low quality and it is just a waste of time and money. I expect that it will only take a couple of weeks for the hole to reappear and wreck another vehicle."

Another huge crater, which is about 15 inches long and nine inches wide, can be found in Gordon Street in Leith. Resident Graeme Rile says: "This pothole will take the wheel off a car. Something needs to be done before it causes some real damage."

Scott Harrison, a curriculum manager at Telford College, says that Ferry Road has a huge pothole by a bus stop which is proving to be a nuisance to drivers in the area. "It was filled in a few weeks ago," he says. "But the repairs haven’t lasted and it has sunk back into the ground again. People waiting for the bus have been soaked when it rains by vehicles passing through the pothole, and it is a menace for motorists."

Two readers, who wished to remain anonymous, both phoned in to report a "huge" pothole at the Gilmerton Road end of Moredun Park Road. One says that, although the Edinburgh pothole situation is extremely bad, the Moredun Park Road crater was a "monster" that is about five metres long and extremely dangerous.

The other says: "There’s a few people from round here who have driven into it and ruined the suspension on their cars. It’s only a matter of time before someone loses a wheel."

A driver from Lothian Buses, who did not want to be named, says someone will be seriously hurt sooner or later. "We could draw you a map of the potholes around Edinburgh. They’re absolutely horrendous - a danger to the buses and a danger to passengers," he says.

"Many of them are poorly repaired by just filling tar into them and this just makes it worse. The council needs to get it sorted."

A cabbie, who refuses to be named, says: "All the taxi drivers I know are sick of phoning up the council and complaining about these holes and the fact that we have to dodge them every day.

"Although we all know the roads very well and can easily avoid driving into the potholes, the holes are big enough to cause a lot of damage to any car."

And it isn’t just car drivers who are at risk. Nick Candlish, 42, from Bonnington, says motorcyclists and bike-riders are just as susceptible. The motorbike rider explains: "My bike was damaged on Newhaven Road because of a pothole and I complained to the council because of the expense. The pothole was fixed within 24 hours but I was advised I would have no claim for compensation."

Other areas highlighted by readers include Granton Road, which is described as "an accident waiting to happen", Princes Street, which is branded "a disgrace", and Queensferry Road, which one resident says has six huge potholes. One of the worst holes in the city was pointed out in Park Grove Terrace in Clermiston. One elderly resident describes it as being two inches deep and "a danger to pedestrians and cars". He adds: "You walk across the road and you think that your ankle is going to go. It really is dangerous and it’s amazing that no-one has been seriously injured by it yet."

DESPITE the flood of complaints, however, there has been a lone voice defending the state of the Capital’s roads. Charlie Boile, who is an ex-road foreman, says: "Edinburgh has the best roads in the country by a mile. They are nowhere near as bad as they are being made out to be."

Edinburgh MSP Brian Montieth, who is backing the Evening News Potwatch campaign, says: "It doesn’t surprise me that so many people are reporting these potholes, and it is important to note that many are also highlighting the ones that have been ‘repaired’ by the council. I know of one hole that was filled in three weeks ago which has already sunk to become a pothole again. As any motorist knows, it only takes a couple of trucks or buses to go over a ‘repaired’ hole for it to be broken up once more.

"What we need is for the council to set up a pothole website where the public can key in and record the location of these holes so that the council can fix them. They need to be dug out and restored properly rather than just having tar poured in to patch them up."

A spokesman for Edinburgh City Council says: "The Clarence road defects reporting system enables the public to report road defects directly to the council. We aim to repair the vast majority of reported defects using dedicated squads within a period of 24 hours following the call.

"Eighty-five per cent of reported faults are now rectified within a 24-hour period. In addition, we also undertake regular inspections of the roads network to identify faults. During the last 18 months we have introduced additional dedicated Clarence defect squads, which now repair over 36,000 faults each year. Defects are prioritised dependent on the classification of the road, the nature of the defect and the resources available to the council.

"We ask all members of the public to keep reporting and advising the council of potholes that should be brought to our attention."