Measuring the Potholes

As the cold weather starts to set in, more and more potholes may start to appear on roads – a dreaded issue for both drivers and local councils. New research presented in a scrolling animation reveals just how deep Scotland’s pothole problem goes, and it is far worse than it appears on the surface.

A freedom of information request by, the driver saving site, reveals a total of 154,310 potholes were reported to the region’s councils in 2016 – more than in any other UK region. Each local authority was asked for the minimum depth of a road defect to be considered a pothole, and this figure was aggregated against the total number to reveal a depth of over 6km (6,364m). The animation allows users to visualise the true depth of the region’s potholes combined, scrolling passed iconic recorded depths such as the bottom of the English Channel (174m), Loch Ness (230m), and the Mediterranean Sea (5,270m). Users can then scroll all the way passed the Mariana Trench (11km) and the world’s deepest man-made hole (12.3km) into the Earth’s upper mantle (30km) before arriving at the combined depth of the UK’s 1,033,486 potholes. This is over 40 km deep and 3.7 times the depth of the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean.

The animation also allows users to drill down to specific local authority areas, and Edinburgh comes out on top for having the deepest pothole problem of the region.

Having this many potholes can be a very costly job for councils, as they fork out for repairs, as well as compensation to victims of damage caused by the craters in the road. In fact, a third of motorists in the UK say their car has been damaged by a pothole.

The total depth of potholes in North Ayrshire is estimated to be 117 metres and we believe that most of those are probably on Arran!!