Anger mounts over road conditions

Eilean a’ Cheo Councillor, John Gordon has spoken out about the state of the roads on Skye following a growing number of complaints from constituents and criticism on social media.

Speaking to the Free Press this week, Cllr Gordon said: “Discussions have already been held this year about the roads, and the local councillors here are working hard on the issue as no one is happy with the situation.

“The council has a responsibility, but so do the government in terms of investment. The budget is going to be presented at the end of this month at the council, with another £35 million due to be cut, I honestly think that if it continues the way it is going, there will not be any local authorities left in the next however many years. That old saying about putting a plaster over a gaping wound is really what’s happening just now.”

“The Highlands is the size of Wales, just think about the number of miles this region covers. Basic maintenance isn’t happening. I think Highland is just too big a local authority and is Inverness-centric.”

Cllr Gordon visited the Braes to Peinachorran road on Monday, which was the subject of a series of posts by people on the Facebook page – ‘Skye to Inverness road watch’. Raising concerns over the state of the road, Stuart Martin posted: “Reported numerous times, but still getting worse day by day.”

Meanwhile, fellow forum user, Alexander Macaskill brought attention to the precarious condition of road in Crossal, warning: “if you don’t wreck an alloy, you’ll ended up with a smashed windscreen or stone chips all over your car.”

Donnie MacRae of MacRae’s Garage in Portree told the Free Press that the road to the Talisker Distillery was also in a terrible state and said that garage had dealt with many cars requiring work because of potholes between Christmas and New Year. He added that the roads were “dire” and were “always neglected in winter.”

A spokesperson for Morrisons Garage in Portree, said they were also sending out vehicles every day because of potholes, and that “the roads in general are a nightmare.” They also went on to highlight the impact on visitors to the island: “Imagine you are on Skye for just two days, and you have to get your car fixed, it takes up most of people’s time while they are here and ruins their holiday. Potholes are the one of the biggest hazards on the roads and nobody seems to do anything.”

Councillor Gordon said: “Frustration” was growing within the community and among elected representatives at the “lack of investment due to budget cuts from central government” which he said were now having an impact.” He added that local council staff were doing a great job, despite a lack of workforce and monies, and that he and his fellow councillors would be meeting with senior road officials on Friday (January 12th) for further discussions on the issue.