The sheer number of potholes across Angus poses a “serious risk” of fatal incidents, a road collision investigator has warned.
Mark Hooghiemstra, managing director of accident investigation consultancy Aldbar, says the problem – which extends across the region’s road network – is “getting worse and worse”.
He fears the potholes, which are often masked by rainwater and not visible from a distance, are particularly dangerous to vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorbike riders.
One such pothole close to Mark’s home – on the rural, unlit road between Letham and Brechin – is almost two metres long with a depth of about 10cm.
He calls this a “potentially very dangerous situation” for all road users, including lorry drivers.
‘It’s going to cause a fatality one of these days’
Mark said: “The potholes are getting worse and worse. They are just plain dangerous.
“It’s going to cause a fatality one of these days.
“Motorcyclists, who travel on rural roads at 50-60mph, can’t see the potholes from a distance.
“So the moment it appears in your headlights you’ll be too late to respond and the motorbike will go into the pothole and the rider will highly likely lose control of their bike.”
But the 60-year-old believes car and lorry drivers are at risk too.
He said: “Drivers are more focused on looking at potholes and trying to avoid them and avoid damage to their vehicles, as opposed to looking where they should be looking.”
Mark, a former police officer in Holland, investigates serious and fatal injury pedestrian and motorcyclist collisions across Scotland.
He says he is worried that the situation in Angus has “become the norm”.
“Inches-deep potholes are masked by standing water and are, on unlit roads, not visible in these dark winter months,” he adds.
“Well-intended farmers have started to place traffic cones to warn road users.
“It seems that the current state of the roads has become the norm, and that is what I am very worried about.”
‘Angus Council must do more to maintain roads’
Mark, who says he has reported the issue to the council several times, believes it is not doing enough.
He said: “The cost is a big issue for the council, I fully recognise that.
“But they keep patching the potholes up, and that works for a couple of weeks or months.
“Then, in the winter, you have the same pothole reappearing.
“The patchwork is not strong enough to have the weight of traffic passing over it for longer periods.
“Instead, they basically need to start all over again and completely resurface the road.
“The council is ultimately responsible for the maintenance of its road network and has to have some sort of system of inspection and repair in place.”
Angus Council plans ‘more extensive’ resurfacing works
An Angus Council spokesman said: “The potholes highlighted in the article were reported to us via our online reporting system on Saturday afternoon when the relevant staff were not on duty.
“They have since been picked up with inspections and actions undertaken.
“As part of our risk-based policy, Angus Council will inspect, assess and repair the potholes on the area’s extensive road network throughout the year.
“In recent months Angus has experienced significant adverse weather conditions and multiple weather events, including severe flooding during a prolonged period of heavy rain.
“This major event and other weather conditions this winter have led to an increase in defects across our roads network.
“In response to this, we have increased our resources directed at road surface repairs.”
The spokesman added that planning for “more extensive resurfacing works” across the network is currently being developed.