Edinburgh roads at ‘breaking point’ over potholes

Pothole being repaired, Lothian Road Edinburgh.
Pothole being repaired, Lothian Road Edinburgh.
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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 as much as £4 million to permanently ­rectify.

A total of 27,610 potholes were brought to the attention of the city council last year – equivalent to 74 complaints an hour.

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

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 the council 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 per hole, meaning it would cost £550,000 to repair the 27,500 the authority deals with. Meanwhile, a permanent repair can cost between £75-£150, per hole, which would significantly bump up the bill to between £2m and £4.1m.

Liberal Democrat councillor Kevin Lang said the latest figures suggested Edinburgh’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 which ­ultimately is not getting the basics right. We know Edinburgh has some of the most potholed and damaged streets anywhere in Scotland.”

Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative Lothian MSP, 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.”

Transport and environment vice-convener Karen Doran said the council was working hard to improve the current condition of the city’s roads. She said: “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.”