‘Two-year backlog’ for Edinburgh road repairs
It could take two years to clear Edinburgh’s road repairs backlog once a contract is signed off, a council officer has revealed.
Last month it was revealed only 36% of scheduled prioritised road projects were expected to be finished by March.
There is also an £8.35m underspend on the council’s capital roads projects – money which remains untouched.
Infrastructure service manager Cliff Hutt said the council was “in effect working a year in arrears”.
He pointed out that process meant road projects could be held up for months before any work had even started.
He said: “A lot of perception about the state of the roads from the public is to do with potholes – that’s not the capitalised maintenance scheme.
“There’s a number of issues that create how much work you can do. The more successful the city is, the more works development goes on, the more roadworks you’re going to have. Finding that window to do your major strategic works gets harder and harder year on year.
“Once we get the roads improvement plan into place, we have a service contract and it will take I think two years of having the contract to actually clear the backlog and to ensure that we keep on top of the backlog.”
Officers want to make more of an impact into the backlog of capital roads projects, but would require more funding to do so.
‘Not fast enough’
Gareth Barwell, the council’s head of place management, said: “This is a big issue for residents and businesses alike. We have a number of actions that are making improvements, but clearly not fast enough for many people and in many cases not fast enough for us.
“My view will be to speak to members and ask for more capital so we can make more of an impact. It’s very difficult for me to make that case while we are underspending on what we have got right now.”
The council is adamant it is making good progress to improve the state of roads in the capital.
Lesley Macinnes, City of Edinburgh Council’s transport and environment convener, said: “Maintaining Edinburgh’s transport infrastructure is crucial to keeping the city moving, so it’s imperative that we make every effort to strengthen and develop our approach to road repairs and improvements.
“While we’re steadily increasing the output of capital budget-funded resurfacing projects, with road and pavement resurfacing up 66% and 50% respectively on last year – we recognise that there is work to be done.”