Having moved to Peebles in 2002, self-proclaimed ‘stooriefit’ Bosco Santimano gives us his own take on what he feels is the hot topic of the day. This week it’s potholes!
I recently visited my country of birth and was amazed to see some of the infrastructure projects that have been completed and some in progress. Many roads in the cities and towns are now being done using concrete instead of asphalt. Rural areas are still using asphalt as its cheaper for the local councils but the environmental costs are huge compared to concrete. Potholes are a major problem every rainy season as big holes suddenly appear and damage to people’s physical health and property runs into millions every year. Coming back to the Borders made me feel that I was still in India! Though I am not sure if the council is going out of its way to make me feel at home!
My work takes me to all parts of Scotland and having visited quite a few places in the Borders since coming back, I was genuinely appalled at the state of the roads with some roads being blocked out completely by traffic cones placed by concerned road users. Many have had damage to their vehicle’s, while some placed traffic cones and road signs directly onto potholes to warn oncoming traffic. Why is this happening on such a regular basis in the Borders? Is this the councils responsibility for making our roads safe to drive or the Scottish governments, or Westminster? At least now we can stop blaming the European Union! I have seen cars breakdown immediately after going over a concealed pothole without any warning and the risk it poses to all concerned cannot be under estimated. Complaints have been pouring through social media, press and the councils own website. Roads are the backbone of any thriving modern society and any limitations to accessing quality infrastructure will only undermine the flow of goods and services in the area. Somebody put up a post on Facebook asking the question as to vehicle’s have to be fit for roads, so why not the other way around? Why don’t we hold councils and our elected representatives legally liable for the state of the roads or the infrastructure facilities? The current ruling Tory administration seems to be blaming the previous one and the story keeps going on and on. Having looked at last year’s budget of the council it seems to me that monies have been spent on elected councillors pet projects at the expense of the whole of the Borders residents.
What is the solution we have that should cross across party lines. All major road networks in the Borders should be concretised instead of using the current cheap asphalt roads. One of the big benefits of using concrete is the longevity of the materials lasting anywhere from 30-40 years. Plus they tend to be more green. The obvious disadvantage is the cost. So which is better? Concrete or Asphalt? Unfortunately its not easy to answer that question as my research found many pros and cons to both materials in terms of costs and safety to road users. We as a community need to come together to tackle this ongoing problem once and for all.
Are SBC councillors up to this challenge?
Published in The Peeblesshire News on 21st February 2020.