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Thurso roadworks at Toll junction due to be finished next week, says BEAR Scotland

By Gordon Calder

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A ROADWORKS scheme in Thurso – expected to be completed at the end of January – is now due to be finished next week.

The revised date was given by BEAR Scotland, the company which is responsible for undertaking the work at the Toll junction. The project will improve road safety for pedestrians and cyclists on the A9 and A836 Castletown road, and result in controlled pedestrian crossings being installed.

A new footway adjacent to the Tesco supermarket will be included along with a short section of path next to the A836 road.

The improvements have community support although concern has been expressed regularly about the length of time it is taking to complete the work which started in October last year.

A BEAR Scotland spokeswoman, responding to an enquiry by the John O' Groat Journal, this week said: "Due to the recent poor weather the works are taking longer than anticipated to complete. We are now looking at a revised completion date of Friday, 16 February."

Roadworks at Thurso Toll due to finish on February 16.
Roadworks at Thurso Toll due to finish on February 16.

The issue was raised again at last week's meeting of the Thurso Community Council after members noted that the expected completion date had not been met.

Thurso and Northwest Caithness councillor, Ron Gunn, contacted BEAR Scotland and asked for a completion date and queried the time it is taking for motorists to get through the temporary traffic lights.

He was told the temporary lights are not as efficient as permanent ones and that "everything possible" is being done to reduce the traffic queues.

The councillor was informed that staff are doing "all they can to get the job finished" although no completion date was given at that time.

Councillor Ron Gunn contacted BEAR about the completion date for the Toll roadworks
Councillor Ron Gunn contacted BEAR about the completion date for the Toll roadworks

However, he has now been told the project is to be completed by February 16. In a email to councillor Gunn this week, BEAR divulged the new date and said: "We will remove the temporary traffic signals as soon as we can and switch on the permanent signals."

The company also acknowledged the work has "been a major inconvenience on the local population" and pointed out that staff have been subject to abusive language from drivers. Councillor Gunn said that is "unacceptable" and added: "No person doing their job should be subjected to that kind of behaviour."

Speaking at the community council meeting, Alexander Glasgow, claimed the work should not have started when it did and argued that the winter months were not the right time to undertake such a scheme.

"It will be good for pedestrians when it is finished but it should have started after the bad weather conditions were over, " he said.

Colin Johnston, said there could be problems for Arctic lorries coming from the Park Hotel direction and trying to turn at the toll on to the Castletown road. He felt there is not enough room for them to get round there and queried the design of that part of the project.

It was asked if there had been any public consultation about the scheme before it proceeded.

As previously reported, the temporary traffic lights at the junction were said to be causing delays for motorists of up to 50 minutes on occasions while concern was also expressed about the impact the work was having on local businesses.

At an earlier meeting, Mr Johnston said if the roadworks were being undertaken in China they would have been completed in ten days.

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