The SNP’s new transport chief was told he must do everything in his power to fix potholes as data revealed nearly 10,000 were filled out in the 12 months up to last April across Scotland.
Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart was given the unenviable task of managing the country’s roads by new First Minister Humza Yousaf.
From dualling the A9 and A96 to tackling the long-running ferries crisis, he undoubtedly has a tough job on his hands.
But the scourge of potholes remains a pressing worry, especially in the north and north-east where most residents rely on their cars to get around.
Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats showed 9,679 serious potholes were patched up north of the border in 2021-22, meaning dozens were fixed every day.
In some positive news for the government, that’s actually a decline from the year before when repair teams were urgently called to smooth out 12,949 bumps in the road.
However, it’s feared the cold snap which hit Scotland in December may have resulted in an increasing number of potholes again.
Concerns raised about potholes
Locals across the north and north-east have been quick to raise their concerns over the state of some of the roads in their towns and cities.
A Highland motorist created a special poster to warn drivers of potholes in Skye and offer them help if their car ends up being damaged by one.
It comes after business chiefs admitted they fear lives may be lost during the island’s popular tourist season due to how bad the roads are.
In a Ross-shire village, Stagecoach apologised after a sign was put up in error claiming a local bus stop was no longer in use due to potholes.
In February, two pothole-plagued roads in Inverness were described as an “archaeological dig” due to being in a grim state.
Last year, we published interactive maps showing which Aberdeen streets had been in the need of the most work as a result of potholes.
North East Tory MSP Liam Kerr said: “Many of Scotland’s motorists are forced to use their car because they live in a rural area, or bus services are unsuitable.
“We all know how many potholes are on the typical commute — blowing tyres, causing accidents and wrecking travel plans every day.
“Potholes are appearing fast on the daily roads we use the most – far bigger and deeper than the meagre resources left to councils in the likes of Angus and Aberdeen.”
Scottish roads have ‘more holes than Swiss cheese’
Ex-Scottish Lib Dem chief Willie Rennie warned transport chief Mr Stewart must ensure roads in the north and north-east don’t “fall into disrepair”.
He said: “Scotland’s trunk roads have more holes than Swiss cheese.
“It’s not just frustrating to drivers, it’s dangerous too. Road users pay vast sums in tax, they deserve to rely on smooth and well-maintained roads.
“The new transport secretary must ensure that Scotland’s trunk roads are not allowed to fall into disrepair.”
Mr Stewart said: “In 2021-22 we invested £556 million in managing, maintaining, and safely operating the Scottish motorway and trunk road network, in 2022-23 we are investing £586 million.”