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Pothole plea in Muir of Ord as Highland Council outlines progress across Dingwall and Seaforth ward

By Hector MacKenzie

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Potholes on Seaforth Road, Muir of Ord. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Potholes on Seaforth Road, Muir of Ord. Picture: James Mackenzie.

A PLEA for attention to a Ross-shire village's pothole "disaster area" has been made in the wake of the latest Highland Council update on improvements in the area.

One local said the potholes in Seaforth Road in Muir of Ord are so bad "it's a case of watch that you don't fall into it – you might never come back out".

Back in July we revealed how motorists in Ross-shire last year claimed almost £50,000 from the local authority for repairs to vehicles damaged by potholes.

That led to claims the county's roads are the worst in the Highlands as a "league table" released under a Freedom of Information request showed payouts higher here than anywhere else.

The council has acknowledged the enormous scale of the challenge it faces in maintaining over 6700km of adopted roads in a network that is, in many places, crumbling.

A recent update for the Dingwall and Seaforth area outlined a number of routes which have been improved through surface dressing.

Also included was patching work in Dingwall at St Andrews Road, Back Road, Cluny Road, Jubilee Park Road, Woodlands Road, Lochussie and Deas Avenue. Station Road was also treated after years of complaints.

A caller fed-up with the impact on daily life for people using a number of roads in Muir of Ord said: "They spend millions on unnecessary things but this disaster area gets left untouched for months.

"It has been reported to the council many times that parts of the road are pretty much undriveable. There's one in particular that if you're unlucky enough to hit it at anything over 5mph you're in trouble."

Accepting constraints in budgets, he said the hundreds of thousands spent on "vanity projects" like the Gathering Place "wall" by the River Ness stuck in the throats of people keen to "essential" repairs carried out.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by Allan McLeod of Firhill earlier in the year left the Alness resident "gob-smacked" to learn of payouts totalling almost £50,000 to Ross-shire motorists between April 2020 and April 2021. He was spurred to act after making "multiple complaints" about "unavoidable potholes" on the estate where he lives.

He said at the time: "You see cars slowing down and swerving about trying to avoid hitting these potholes some of which are large and very deep. Clearly, this is a safety issue for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike. Highland Council needs to get a grip over the pothole problems in Ross-shire before someone is seriously injured or even killed.

"Looking at the total cost of claims it's clear that Ross-shire roads are simply the worst roads in the area."

Some of the areas he highlighted have since been treated.

Contacted for comment, Frances MacGruer of Muir of Ord Community Council said: "Seaforth Road along with Balvaird Road and Black Isle Road has been highlighted many times at community council meetings and has been taken back to Highland Council by our councillors. Seaforth Road was supposed to be upgraded with a new surface some time ago, but I believe the issue was the supply of tar. We are hopeful it will be completed in the very near future”.

A Highland Council spokesperson said: “Seaforth Road, Muir of Ord isn't in the 2021-22 programme and has been passed out to contractors for costing and timescale.”

Damage to adopted roads and pavements, including potholes, can be reported online at www.highland.gov.uk/report

PICTURES: Wester Ross road repair progress flagged by Highland Council

Pothole repair payout for Ross-shire revealed

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