A rolling programme of roadworks was due to start – given dry weather – today (Monday 9 May) as Comhairle nan Eilean Siar enters six to eight weeks of its annual surface-dressing programme.
But despite the works promising improvement to road surfaces the length of the islands, the technique, and the programme, have not met with universal approval.
Works were due to start today in Harris, covering parts of the A859 over the Clisham and in Scarista for one week, before moving across the Sound of Harris.
There will then be three weeks of surfacing on the C78 between Carragreich and Berneray, on five sections of the A865 in Uist and on four sections of the A888 in Barra.
Returning to Lewis, the team will be working at Uig bends on the B8011, on the A858 between Brue and Cross Skigersta, on the Barvas Moor road in towards Laxdale School and on the B895 in Coll and Gress.
A Comhairle spokesperson said: “Traffic management and warning signs will be in place and the travelling public are asked to take heed of the warnings and temporary speed limits. All works are dry weather dependent and are subject to delays.
“Drivers should allow additional time for travelling whilst works are in these areas to allow for expected delays. The Comhairle would like to thank the public for their assistance.”
There’s evidence, though, that the works will not be enough to quell a rising tide of discontent with the state of island roads, with several residents commenting on the Comhairle’s public post about the proposed schedule.
One said: “This skittering on the roads is not enough – verge and drain the ditches, fill the potholes, clear the culverts and sort the whole road from Lochmaddy to Lochboisdale …(it’s) unsafe to walk in the whole of the west side of North Uist.”
Another added: “Waste of time and money, dressing is displaced within weeks. The roads need more than a cosmetic makeover, they need proper investment. Dip into that pot of reserve millions and do some good for the communities!”