MAJOR repairs to the Killimster Moss road in Caithness are due to get under way next month.
Exploratory work on a 20-metre stretch of the B876 road is expected to begin in three weeks with the rest of the £525,000 project starting in May.
Landward Caithness Highland councillor Willie Mackay is “delighted” the work will commence soon.
“This is good news and I am delighted to hear it. I am pretty confident this repair will last a lot longer than the last one. This is a welcome development and should be a huge improvement. I am confident it will be a good job. We have learned so much about making roads over the past 10 years. Wind farm developers have built a vast amount of roads across moss in Caithness and this is a good opportunity to learn from that. Council officials also looked at procedures which they have in countries like Sweden,” said Mr Mackay.
“I can’t see a lot of disruption for motorists as the road will not be closed during the work. Traffic will be managed by lights and a convoy system."
Brenda Herrick, chairwoman of Castletown and District Community Council, also welcomed the go-ahead for the long-awaited improvement.
She said: “I am pleased to see something being done at long last as this has been going on for years. I can’t wait for it to be completed and am happy they are going to do the work without closing the road.”
Motorists, community and Highland councillors have regularly hit out at the dire condition of the half-mile stretch of road between Wick and Castletown. They have claimed its poor state has been aggravated by an increase in its use by heavy goods vehicles, including trucks which transport rubbish from Skye, Ross and Sutherland to the landfill site at Seater, near Bower.
The council allocated £525,000 to improve the road. £10,000 related to preliminary design work while £165,000 was allocated for 2016/17 and £350,000 in 2017/18. The funding, it was said, would enable comprehensive repairs and the upgrade to the road to be undertaken.
It is understood the work is due to be completed by autumn 2017 and will include the resurfacing of the entire section of the road.
The B876 was constructed more than 80 years ago on concrete rafts over a blanket peat bog.
A £250,000 temporary repair was carried out in 2000 but that has failed with motorists now having to negotiate an uneven surface full of cracks and potholes.