MSP Says Region’s Pothole Catastrophe Must Be Addressed

South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has hit out over what she has described as a ‘pothole catastrophe’ the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway.

Ms Harper has stated that, although she has received complaints from the whole region, there are particularly acute problems in Heathhall in Dumfries and on the New Abbey Road (A710) all the way from Dumfries to Dalbeattie.


Following a number of complaints from residents in and around Barnett Road, and residents travelling on the A710 New Abbey road between Dumfries and Dalbeattie, the South Scotland MSP wrote to Dumfries and Galloway Council – now on two occasions – to request that they take urgent action to address the ‘numerous and serious’ potholes in these areas, which local residents have reported have caused damage to vehicles incurring high cost of repairs. In addition, Ms Harper, along with residents and local elected members, has stated that the council’s approach of what constituents have called ‘sticking a traffic cone in a colossal crater’ is wholly unacceptable, and is also dangerous.


However, residents and Ms Harper have been left in utter disbelief to learn that Council officers inspected Barnett Road on the 30th of January and 10th of April, and that the pot holes were not of a high enough priority to warrant priority action, and that the local authority are ‘unable to provide a specific timescale for repairs’. Indeed, on the A710 road from Dumfries to Dalbeattie, the Local Authority have also stated that ‘a timescale for repairs is unable to be provided’.


Commenting, Ms Harper said:


“I’ve had a huge increase in the number of constituents contacting me regarding the pothole catastrophe in our region. While I know that the staff on the ground are working hard to address potholes, there is a lack of a coordinated approach and direct communication from the Council. Quite frankly, constituents are reporting pot holes every day and are not witnessing action to address them. Constituents pay council tax and expect that the roads are properly maintained, which includes prioritising pothole repairs.
“In particular, I have been contacted by numerous residents of Barnett Road in Heathhall, and people using the A702 Dumfries to Dalbeattie New Abbey Road, regarding the terrible condition of the local roads. I am very familiar with these roads myself, as I use these roads frequently as part of my local and personal work. I completely agree that urgent road repairs are required. These roads are littered with sizeable damage-inflicting potholes and I know from constituent correspondence that these potholes have already caused hundreds of pounds of damage to cars – with one resident stating that ‘navigating Barnett road is like driving a slalom on the surface of the moon while avoiding the craters’.
“Indeed, another constituent has slated the councils approach of simply “sticking traffic cones in pot holes” on the New Abbey Road is a “catastrophe waiting to happen” – there is no notice that traffic cones in potholes are upcoming and they often topple or blow over in the wind, or are hit, causing a danger to drivers or cyclists. I therefore agree with local residents that the response I have received from DG Council is unacceptable and bizarre to say the least. The potholes on Barnett Road, and indeed the potholes on the New Abbey Road, are not insignificant. It is impossible to drive without either driving into a pothole or swerving to avoid one.
“I am again, calling on DG Council to properly take action to address these potholes in the long term, to set out a fully costed plan to address potholes across the region, including Barnett Road and the A702 Dumfries to Dalbeattie road, and to set out how they are measuring the effectiveness of the new pothole repair machine that has been purchased last year. I have also submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to find out how many compensation claims have been paid out to residents of D&G who have had cars damaged by a pothole. People must be listened too and the pothole catastrophe across our region must be addressed.”


Dalbeattie Ward Councillor, Kim Lowe, added:


“I am contacted on a daily basis by residents about potholes on our local roads.  The A710 route is particularly bad, with poor road edges and deep potholes on every stretch, but a particularly bad section is around New Abbey.  Residents are experiencing burst tyres and dented wheels using our local roads and yet struggling to receive compensation from the Dumfries and Galloway Council.  Cyclists have to physical ride in the middle of the road in places risking being in the route of oncoming vehicles.  When repairs have been undertaken they just don’t last, and within days the surface is just as bad and occasionally worst.
“Patching is not cost effective and a programme of planned surfacing on all our roads needs to be in place as a matter of urgency.”

Latest Articles