Roads we maintain

Top questions about Midlothian roads

These are the questions from a recent consultation that are of most concern to Midlothian residents.

1. What are the best ways to report road repairs and what details are required?  Is there a map I can access to check the name of the road?

Trunk Roads

Other Midlothian Roads

We have online maps which you can use to check road numbers and names:

2. Why do we not get feedback on the issues we've reported about how and when they will be fixed?  Why does the council not develop an app to help reporting?

Feedback is one of the key asks from the community in the recent consultation. Our customer relations system is not able to do this at the moment. Digital Services are looking at other systems. They will consider apps as part of this exercise.

You can help us by using the road name when reporting a fault, and the road number if no name exits.

We are keen to work with the community getting the best possible service using new technologies.

3. Why do complaints about running water take so long to remedy?

Running water problems may come from blocked drainage, leaking sewers and water supplies, or ground water issues, causing visible runoff.

We are obliged to investigate these problems, which may involve inspecting sewers, manholes, etc. and checking records of underground services.

We may only find the cause after excavation. The problem might be with a sewer or water supply which is not the council’s responsibility. Establishing ownership and responsibility can often be difficult, and unless it’s obviously a foul sewer problem, Scottish Water (SW) will usually refer customer enquiries to the council.

In our experience, it is often not the council’s responsibility, or responsibility may be shared. This can delay action, whether by the council or SW, and it might seem as if no-one is dealing with it.

We hope when the new feedback mechanism is in place, it will help to address this.

4. What is the council’s approach to road gulley clearance of leaves and other blockages?

We operate one gulley machine which responds to reports from engineers, inspectors and the public.

5. Do developers contribute towards transport infrastructure?

Developers are responsible for road infrastructure on their sites and to provide access. The industry builds new roads, footpaths and cycle paths. This work includes traffic lights and crossings, street lighting and traffic calming. The planning process determines these requirements.

Developers must also contribute financially towards strategic infrastructure, to mitigate the impact of developments in a wider transport corridor. 

Examples of strategic projects funded, or part funded, by developers include:

  • the Borders Rail line
  • the proposed remodelling of the Sheriffhall roundabout
  • the proposed realignment of the A701
  • the council’s project to urbanise a section of the A7 (i.e. make it more public transport and active travel friendly).

6. Are we as a council doing all we can to ensure effective use of road bonds?

Road bonds are not actual money. A road bond is an insurance policy, so that if a developer goes into liquidation, the council can complete the work that has been started.

They are calculated on the actual costs of road construction.

7. What is the process for insurance claims regarding potholes?  Why are there delays in processing these?

We strive to resolve claims within 3 months from the receipt of a written claim.

We pass claims to appointed claims handlers. They have authority to handle and assess all liability claims on behalf of Midlothian Council, and to assess liability based on evidence from both parties.

The roads inspector/engineer prepares a factual report confirming location of defect, type and extent, last date inspected, history of repairs, action taken since claim etc. This stage can take up to 4 weeks (depending on complexity). The report goes to the appointed claims handlers so they can assess liability, and decide whether or not to uphold a claim.

It can take up to 8 weeks for the claims handlers to reach a decision, depending on complexity and whether more details are needed. The claimant is then advised directly.

In general, most claims are dealt with within this time. However, due to the volume of claims received following severe weather in 2017/18, there was a significant backlog of factual reports, particularly in Penicuik and the west.  This backlog lasted well into 2018/19, resulting in claims from the west area taking longer to process.

We are reducing the smaller backlog of claims for the west area from 2019/20, whilst new claims for 2019/20 are coming in. Also the number of network inspectors has been halved: from 6 FTE to 3 FTE. For the period 8 February to 21 August 2019, 26 claims are still not resolved.

8. How can communities work with the council to expand information and use of multi-use pathways?

An Active Travel Strategy has been compiled with our communities and groups associated with active travel.

The links will be delivered mostly through conditions of developments, some by section 75 agreement, and the rest by ring-fenced council funding and external grant funding.

Communities and partners can help us by promoting multiuse paths to key interest groups in Midlothian.

Cycle lanes, which are next to a treated carriageway, will benefit from the drift of salt onto the cycle way.

There is a list of roads and footpaths for priority gritting.

9. Why are pothole repairs done as temporary measures rather than more permanent resurfacing?

Two reasons:

  • Some potholes are defined as high category defects, meaning that they could cause immediate danger. These are filled much more promptly than the long planning process which goes into larger scale resurfacing. Category 1 defects are fixed within 1 day, category 2 defects within 28 days. The material used to fill the potholes is designed as a semi-permanent repair.
  • To fill a pothole in the normal way costs £30-£50. A resurfacing project to fix even a relatively small, full-width section of road can easily cost more than £30,000. These larger scale repairs are planned through the Capital Works Programme.

10. Cars are speeding in my street / a street. Can I have traffic calming installed?

We assess, prioritise and allocate road safety funding to school locations, and to where there are recorded accidents causing injury, and where remedial measures are likely to cut injury accidents. This is in line with our statutory duties.

Traffic calming will be funded if a street with measured speeding is on the list of accident cluster sites being considered, and if traffic calming is likely to cut the number of injury accidents.

In places where residents have raised speeding concerns, and there are isolated or no accidents (causing injury) in the past 3 years, we will pass the details to the police for them to consider speed enforcement.

11. There is a problem with parking in my street, can I have yellow lines?

Yellow lines are normally restricted to town centres and at schools. This is so that the limited number of parking attendants can focus on enforcing these areas.

We would consider parking restrictions in a residential or rural area only where parking has caused injury accidents, or where refuse collection is regularly affected.

The police have powers to move a vehicle causing danger or an obstruction. Parking over driveways for example should be reported to the police.

12. There is a problem with parking on the pavement / footway

The Scottish Government is to make parking on a footway illegal and enforceable by councils. We await details before the parking attendants can enforce parking on footpaths in Midlothian.

The police can charge drivers with obstruction, but will only do so if a person is being obstructed at a specific time. For example if a wheelchair user can’t get past a vehicle, or it obstructs prams and buggies on a school route. It is for the police to decide if and when to enforce.

13. Can I have a 20mph speed limit on my street?

So far we have agreed only to introduce 20mph speed limits at schools. We could also consider streets where there’s an injury accident cluster. Some nursery schools had a 20mph speed limit introduced several years ago.

City of Edinburgh Council are piloting a 20mph urban speed limit. The Scottish Government has decided not to pursue a standard 20mph urban speed limit (to replace 30mph).

14. Other speed limits?

Speed limits are set using government guidance:

In summary, speed limits are set to the speed that most people drive on the road. Using speed limits to reduce driving speed is proven not to work. Speed limits set too low cause frustration, and in turn cause dangerous overtaking and manoeuvres. If a limit is set low, say on a series of bends, hazard warning signs etc. should be there so drivers understand the lower speed limit.

Standard speed limits are 30mph in urban areas. Other limits are imposed in specific circumstances. Examples would be: a dual carriageway going through a town may have a 40mph or 50mph limit; or a street outside a school would have a 20mph limit.

15. Does Midlothian Council carry out traffic surveys?

We have a small number of lamppost radar kits that measure traffic volumes and speeds. They are used mainly for assessing places where there are injury accidents.

Contractors may carry out larger surveys and traffic modelling when we are preparing a local development plan.

Video surveys of an injury accident cluster location are sometimes put out to tender. This is only when more conflict information is needed to inform remedial measures.

16. Why does Midlothian have so few speed cameras?

Speed cameras are officially called ‘safety cameras’. Transport Scotland install and maintain safety cameras.

17. How does the Council spend road safety funds?

We have to prioritise limited funds so that we target remedial measures to the right places.

We identify individual sites, often junctions or bends, where there are four or more injury accidents in the last three years. We review this every year.

We also look at routes and areas where the accident rate is higher than would be expected. We investigate details of the accidents to look for patterns, and we develop engineering measures to solve the problems.

Engineering measures can include:

  • new signs and markings
  • special road surfaces
  • changes to the road layout
  • new junction types
  • pedestrian crossings.

Lower speed limits can be introduced if we find that vehicle speeds contribute to the injuries caused.

We then prioritise the schemes on their value for money in reducing accidents.

Each year, we report the list of priority locations to Midlothian Council.

18. “Do we have to wait for an accident to happen”

Communities sometimes ask “Do we have to wait until an accident happens?” In fact because of reduced budgets: yes we are reactive rather than proactive. If more funds were available, we would treat more sites.