Fears over repairing potholes on Scottish roads due to bitumen supply shortages

Transport Scotland said the problem appeared to have been caused by market volatility due to the dispute and the subsequent rise in oil prices as bitumen was rationed by suppliers.

BEAR Scotland, which maintains the motorways and other major roads across most of the country, said: “We are aware of the ongoing bitumen shortages in the UK, but this has not yet impacted our operations. of coating.

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“In the event of a shortage of bitumen, keeping the national roads for which we are responsible in a safe and usable condition will remain our priority.

The resurfacing work could be penalized by bitumen supply problems. Photo: Lisa Ferguson

“However, it is not possible to predict exactly when the shortages will have an impact.”

Amey, who maintains trunk routes in Glasgow and the South West of Scotland, said: “We are aware of the pressures on the wider global supply chain and are talking to our suppliers and Transport Scotland to inform in advance of any potential issues.”

Edinburgh and Glasgow are among the councils that have not yet been affected, but Highland Council said: “Given the current international problems, bitumen supplies may be hard to come by.

“We are currently identifying the extent of any issues as well as any mitigation measures that may need to be implemented.”

A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: “Our contractors and operating companies have brought to our attention concerns over bitumen supply in the UK.

“These issues have not yet affected our surfacing operations, although if this issue persists, it is expected that it may affect future programs.

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Neil Greig, director of policy and research at Scotland-based automotive group IAM RoadSmart, said: “The price of bitumen needs to rise in line with other petroleum-based products, which of course means less resurfacing or pothole repairs can be done within existing budgets. .

“This is not good news for Scottish drivers as the main road construction season opens.

“Without additional room for maneuver in budgets, Scotland’s maintenance backlog risks falling further behind.”

Dominic Browne, editor of Highways magazine, said: “In the roads sector, the current problems are particularly acute because we are so dependent on oil and fuel.

“With many, if not most, councils facing frozen or even shrinking budgets, the impact on local conditions could be devastating and even unmanageable in places.”

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