Borders roads are in urgent need of repair

Walkergate Pothole
Walkergate Pothole

During 2009/10 £654 million was spent on Scotland’s roads (£162 million on trunk roads such as the A1 and £492 on local roads) yet the condition of the country’s roads has still deteriorated over the past six years and it is estimated that it would cost £2.25 billion to carry to bring all roads up to an acceptable standard.

Auditor General for Scotland Robert Black said: “Members of the public are increasingly dissatisfied with the condition of our roads. The pattern of spending and scale of backlog means that the value of these public assets is not being sustained.

“But by deferring essential expenditure on infrastucture, public boides are storing up problems for the future and passing a greater burden onto generations to come.”

Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont has backed the report which calls on the Scottish Government to consider a national review of how Scotland’s road network is managed and maintained.

Mr Lamont said: “Audit Scotland has confirmed what every driver in the Borders and Scotland already knew: that we have some of the worst maintained roads in Europe. I am regularly contacted by constituents whose cars have been damaged by poorly maintained and frankly in some cases, downright dangerous, roads.

“I know that Scottish Borders Council have been doing their best to repair the damage caused by the recent bad weather. However, it is clear that the national road network needs urgent attention.”

Scottish Borders Council plans on spending £3.6 million on the maintenance of 3000 kilometres of public roads. footways and bridges in the next financial year, with a further £3.18 million budgeted for the following year and £3.999 in 2013-14.

Survey work is ongoing in the Borders to identify the scale of the problem; temporary repair works being undertaken and a programme of permanent works planned for the start of the new financial year.

Last year the severe winter weather caused £8 million of damage to Borders roads; this winter £3.65 million was set aside for winter repairs but early estimates are that the figure needed could be nearer £6 million.

Councillor David Parker, Leader of SBC said: “We are currently working to properly assess the winter damage on Borders roads. We will fill in potholes on an emergency basis at present where work is essential and our teams are obviously working on the roads on a regular basis but winter is not yet finished so the vast bulk of pothole work will take place from April onwards throughout the summer.

“We recognise the frustration that drivers experience with potholes but obviously two winters of very severe weather have taken their toll on our roads and in the current financial climate there is simply just not enough funding available to do everything that we would like to do.

“We do regard filling potholes as an absolute priory and we did a significant amount of work last year from April to September to repair and maintain the Borders road network and we will do the same again this year once the better weather arrives.”