Perthshire Advertiser

DRIVERS’ POTHOLE MISERY DOUBLES COVID restrictio­ns halt repairs

- KATHRYN ANDERSON

Perth and Kinross Council’s pothole problem is said to have doubled this year because of COVID restrictio­ns preventing emergency roadworks last summer.

Since January 1, PKC has identified 1696 potholes on its 1553 miles of road - more than one pothole per mile.

The news comes after Perth and Kinross councillor­s agreed in December to transfer £2.6 million from the council’s roads budget to the Perth City Hall project.

At the time, Labour councillor Alasdair Bailey and Conservati­ve councillor Colin Stewart both expressed concern about a large chunk of the roads budget being reallocate­d.

At the December meeting, Strathtay representa­tive Colin Stewart - who is not part of the council’s Conservati­ve administra­tion - said councillor­s all got complaints about the state of roads and bridges that “desperatel­y need this maintenanc­e”.

Carse of Gowrie councillor Alasdair Bailey told councillor­s they should not sign up to projects without first seeing “how much money is in the piggybank”.

And this week he told the PA he hoped the £2.6m would be put back into roads after the Tay Cities Deal was signed off late last year.

He added: “For the record, I’m a supporter of the continuati­on of the City Hall project - especially now that we know the Stone of Destiny will come back to Perth and be hosted there.

“However, my concern was that the Tories so willingly took a third of the money out of the roads budgety, which they announced with such great fanfare when originally setting the council’s spending priorities in March 2020.”

Conservati­ve councillor Angus Forbes convenes PKC’s environmen­t and infrastruc­ture committee - the committee responsibl­e for decisions about PKC’s roads.

Cllr Forbes approved a part of the roads budget being reallocate­d to Perth City Hall.

This week he told the PA that emergency pothole repairs were unable to be done last summer leading to “double the work this year”.

The Carse of Gowrie councillor said: “During lockdown last summer, all but emergency work on roads was banned in Scotland which I found unusual because summer is the best time to get the most work done, and the roads were much quieter.

“As a result of that we were not able to get on top of last winter’s potholes and now we have to deal with this winter’s potholes. Potholes generally appear in winter but are fixed in summer so we have double the work to do this year.

“This time of year is always the worst and as the heavy snow of last week melts, this is the eye of the storm as far as potholes go.”

But SNP councillor Grant Laing blasted: “Seems that Tory convener Angus Forbes’s rash promise a couple of years ago about how he would almost eradicate potholes on PKC roads is coming home to roost. Another massive fail. Another promise undelivere­d by the Tory PKC administra­tion.”

A spokespers­on for PKC said all of its pothole repairers had been driving gritters leading to a “backlog of repairs”.

In a social media post, a PKC spokespers­on said: “You will start to see more potholes in roads at this time of year due to the weather. In technical terms, water gets into cracks in the road, then when it freezes the road expands. So as the weather thaws, the road surface collapses and causes potholes.”

The spokespers­on added: “Unfortunat­ely, our weather over the past few weeks will mean that more potholes have appeared and fixes tend to be temporary, before even more potholes arrive.”

To date the council has fixed 329 of the potholes and says it has a record of “most potholes” on its roads. Anyone wanting to report a pothole should visit: http://www. pkc.gov.uk/.../Report-a-road-or-street...

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 ??  ?? Danger One of PKC’s 1696 potholes
Danger One of PKC’s 1696 potholes

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