Repair pledge for Skye’s “farm track” roads

By Michael Russell

Repairs on a notorious stretch of road in north Skye that was the subject of recent online publicity were due to begin this week.

The shocking condition of the roads at Skeabost
Photographs: Willie Urquhart

As we went to press yesterday (Wednesday 25th January) , a video of the A850 at Skeabost, posted on Twitter by local Katie MacKay last Saturday, had been viewed over 114,000 times. When posting the footage of the wrecked carriageway – which others have likened to a “farm track” –  Ms MacKay simply said: “We are sick of it. Highland Council do something.”

On Tuesday of this week they did.

A statement circulated by the council said “immediate works” were due to begin yesterday (Wednesday) on the A850 and on two other roads that have been the subject of public anger, the A863 Sligachan-Dunvegan at Crossal and the A855 Portree-Staffin road north of the Torvaig junction.

Skye councillor John Finlayson, chair of the Isle of Skye and Raasay area committee – which will discuss road maintenance at next Monday’s area committee meeting – said:  “Like all Skye residents I appreciate the angst being expressed by locals about the state of our roads and at present several key stretches of main road are in a very poor state. However, I am pleased to hear that work will commence immediately, weather permitting.

“Work would have started earlier but recent weather conditions have not only caused extensive, further damage to the roads, but have also meant work could not start as you cannot tar in torrential rain, frost and snow.

The council’s executive chief officer Malcolm MacLeod visited Skye on Monday to see some of the roads requiring work.

He said: “During winter the priority of our roads team is keeping roads and footpaths clear of snow and ice and protecting vital connections between remote communities. From what I saw yesterday the negative effect the winter weather has had on our road conditions is clear to see so I am pleased that weather permitting, staff will fit in essential repairs around their winter gritting duties.”

Motorists can report potholes using the online form on the council’s website

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