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Source: Scotland – Highland Council

Members of the Black Isle, Dingwall and Seaforth Area Committee have had the chance to review the impact Covid-19 has had across the area in terms of the road maintenance programme and planned capital works. 

Due to the loss of income and additional expenditure arising from Covid 19 there is a significant budget gap across The Highland Council. On 29 May 20 the 2020/21 budget approved by Council earlier in the year was suspended so there is currently no Revenue or Capital budgets for roads across the wards. 

During April to July when only essential works were permitted the weekly maintenance programme was suspended. However essential road patching was prioritised and although most of this work was carried out using cold tar, hot tar patching was undertaken in Conon Bridge, Muir of Ord and Cotterton on the Black Isle. 

Minimal patching was undertaken in urban areas due to the risk of transmitting the virus and maintaining social distancing with the public. The jet patcher was deployed across Ward 8 and 9 at Conon Bridge, Maryburgh, Muir of Ord, Drumsmittal, Springfield and Culbokie. Further jet patching works will resume once budgets have been set. 

From April, gullies were cleaned in Dingwall, Conon Bridge and Maryburgh and gully works across the Black isle are programmed for the remainder of the financial year. 

Verge grass cutting commenced later this year due to Covid19 restrictions. Despite this 95% of A-class roads on the Black isle have had a second cut and across the Dingwall and Seaforth Ward the figure is 100%. 

Chair of the Committee, Council Gordon Adam said: “Despite staff having to adapt to cope with new working conditions and restrictions, they have been working hard to carry out essential works on our roads ahead of winter, including gully cleaning, verge grass cutting and patching repairs. Under the circumstances this is quite an achievement so I would like to take this opportunity to recognise their efforts and thank everyone involved. 

“Covid 19 has definitely impacted on the amount of work that has been able to be carried out over the summer months not to mention the financial impact.  With the revenue budget yet to be allocated, it was important we had the chance today to review where we are and get a clear picture on where our resources need to go once the budget is confirmed, especially in terms of the planned capital works which have not been able to proceed as planned.” 

The following capital schemes due to have been completed this year will now be considered for surface dressing in 2021/22:- 

• A862 Station Road, Dingwall; and

• U3031 Riverford Crescent Phase 1 

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