TWO Ross-shire councillors will next week try to persuade the local authority to pump millions of pounds more into the crumbling road network.
Senior opposition councillors Isobel McCallum and Billy Barclay have tabled a motion to be debated at a Highland Council meeting in Inverness on Thursday (June 28) calling for a "substantial" increase in the cash spent on roads.
The Independent group wants the council to divert more funds into the transport, environmental and community services budget over a 10-year period.
Councillor McCallum said there had been a widespread cross-party consensus within the authority that major investment was needed on the region’s road network, which is more than 4,000 miles long.
The Black Isle councillor, who was part of the former Independent, Liberal Democrat and Labour administration, claimed it had set the ball rolling by spending an extra £2 million on pothole repairs earlier this year.
She has now urged the new coalition, led by the SNP with the other two parties, to take up the baton and push roads investment further up the agenda.
Councillor McCallum said there had been discussions within the council last autumn about its long-term investment on roads.
"There was quite a consensus throughout the council that the roads might need particular attention," she said. "They have been low priority.
"That is why we put in £2 million. We put the first tranche of money down. But we are going to need a lot more investment in roads and it is what the electorate want. The figure has to be pretty high, it has to be substantial. The £2 million was a start but it was just really firefighting.
"People say there is no money but the council has a £600 million budget."
An estimated £161 million is needed to tackle a huge backlog of repairs to the sprawling road network but there is only £27.5 million in the council budget.
In its newly published programme, the administration said it intended to carry out a survey of roads, involve the community in identifying key repair work and carry out more preventative schemes including drainage and gully cleaning to protect the surfaces of routes.
* What do motorists think of the state of the roads in Ross-shire? Do you believe more money should be invested in roads before other services? You can post your views in the section below. You can also email us your pictures if you have any examples of badly potholed roads where you live: firstname.lastname@example.org.