Road maintenance in the Borders is in ‘downward spiral’ claims councillor

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A COUNCILLOR has said road maintenance in the Borders is in “a downward spiral”, and he has called for more money to be spent on long-term repairs.

Councillor Gavin Logan also questioned if the Scottish Borders Council’s road maintenance strategy needed to be examined in the light of the short lifetime of temporary repairs.

He said that constituents in his Tweeddale East ward had complained to him about the life of temporary pothole repairs, with some reported to have lasted less than a week.

He added: “It seems to me that we have reached a tipping point and now we are on a downward spiral and we need to spend more money on the roads.”

Councillor Gordon Edgar, executive member for roads and infrastructure, admitted: “It is the availability of money that is the problem, and I would welcome any funding from the budget process or the Scottish Government for roads.”

Responding to Councillor Logan’s question about the council’s road maintenance strategy, Councillor Edgar said: “Potholes which are considered to provide a clear safety hazard to road users are classed as category one defects. Temporary patching works to these potholes are carried out using industry approved patching materials and processes to deal with potholes in the short term. These repairs are about making the road safe again. This is a reactive short-term repair with potholes being treated quickly as they are identified.”

He added: “Temporary repair, whilst being considerably cheaper, does not have the same life as permanent patching. The council’s road maintenance strategy seeks to balance the safety of road users against improving the life of the road asset, with the balance of temporary and permanent patching using the department’s budgets to obtain best value.”

It is understood that since the turn of the year more than 350 reports of potholes have been submitted to SBC.

A council spokesman confirmed that the council directly received 298 reports about potholes through its customer services team. A further 54 reports of potholes have been reported through the fixmystreet.com website since January 1.

The website allows the public to report various issues in their community which are then sent on to the relevant local authority. The overwhelming majority of reports placed on the website in relation to SBC are to do with potholes.

A Freedom of Information request to the council revealed that over £31,500 had been handed out by SBC between April 2007 and March 2012 to people claiming potholes damaged their vehicles.