DISRUPTION caused by Edinburgh’s trams project is so bad the council have ordered a halt to major road repairs.
Officials fear congestion from digging up highways elsewhere in the city could lead to a complete traffic meltdown.
Five major schemes to resurface important routes will be delayed for a year.
But critics of the council warned the move would create its own problems if existing potholes are allowed to get worse.
The council’s transport convener Lesley Hinds today admitted residents deserved a break from the roadworks associated with the trams, which are due to finish next year.
She said: “One of the biggest complaints people have is the need to keep the city moving and their frustration at all the roadworks.
“There was work scheduled to be carried out on the main arterial routes into the city but we are proposing deferring these for a year or two to give city residents a break.
“With tram works still ongoing we have decided that the congestion as a result would be too great.
“Instead, we will be bringing forward a new programme of works to repair roads and pavements in communities and neighbourhoods.”
The resurfacing work – part of a £13.9 million investment programme – was originally planned for April next year and included Dalkeith, Corstorphine and Lanark roads.
Tory transport spokeswoman Joanna Mowat said: “I think the people of Edinburgh would like us to get these works done as soon as possible.
“Our roads have not been looked after properly for the past 30 years and we are forever playing catch-up.
“Unfortunately the tram works have become a fact of life which we’re all having to live with.
“But if you shove them all into next financial year, do we not have the same problem, only minus the tram works?”
Liberal Democrat councillor Robert Aldridge said: “It’s sensible to make sure traffic can get around the city.
“But it’s important they are only deferred and not postponed indefinitely.
“I think that would be a big mistake, there is a lot of serious work needing to be done.”
Gordon Henderson of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “Postponing these schemes which the tramworks are still active makes a lot of sense – as long as it is postponing and not cancelling.
“I think Edinburgh businesses probably have had enough disruption and could do with moving forward and hopefully enjoying the trams without people saying: ‘Nice trams, pity about the roadworks.'”
“It would be good to get the city back.”