A call has been made for clarity on the future of a notorious section of the A9 after the decision to move more expectant mothers from Caithness to Inverness.
Plans to upgrade the Berriedale Braes currently hinge on the outcome of a public local inquiry (PLI) considering a single objection to the scheme.
Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Gail Ross has now written to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf calling for a speedy resolution to the inquiry.
The inquiry was triggered by a local landowner who objected to a compulsory purchase order which would mean the loss of private road which joins the A9 near the hairpin bend at Berriedale.
The inquiry session was held in April but no decision has so far been forthcoming.
Ms Ross spoke out after the decision to downgrade Caithness General Hospital’s maternity services to a midwife led unit.
She said: “That means that there will be a slight increase in the amount of women giving birth in Raigmore Hospital and that means that the issues surrounding the Berriedale Braes need to be addressed as a priority.
“I have written to the Transport Minister Humza Yousaf making those points.
“Chief among the actions that are needed is for the speeding up of the public local inquiry and its findings to be considered and published.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “The Scottish Government is working hard to progress the A9 Berriedale Braes improvement scheme.
“A PLI took place to consider the evidence for the one remaining objection to the scheme .
“The recommendations are under active consideration with a response expected shortly.”