A far north Highland Councillor fears not enough checks are in place to warn of the recurrence of further landslips on the most northerly section of the A9.
In the wake of last month’s slip at Portgower, near Helmsdale, Matthew Reiss pressed Transport Scotland to improve its safety inspection programme of the trunk road.
He yesterday said the only response he has received is the offer to run a seminar on the subject.
The Thurso and west Caithness member is concerned that neither Transport Scotland nor its contractor BEAR Scotland is giving enough priority to work to prevent landslides or to deal with them when they happen.
He claimed BEAR were “complacent” in how it dealt with the issue and fears Portgower remains vulnerable to further slippages.
“I have an uneasy feeling that budgets are not enough to put in place substantial long-term repairs. A couple of locals have said that it’s just a question of when there are further slips.”
Mr Reiss adds that he remains concerned about the potential for a further landslip near the bottom of the brae leading into Scrabster, the most northerly point of the A9.
He criticised the time taken to deal with the latest landslip at the location earlier this year and is not convinced enough has been done to prevent a recurrence.
Mr Reiss said: “What is needed is serious investment, not token patching as has happened at Scrabster.
“We deserve our fair share of the funding and I will continue to keep asking questions for more emphasis to be given to this stretch of the A9, which is a true lifeline route.”
A spokesman for BEAR Scotland said it carries out weekly safety inspections of the trunk roads it covers.
He added: “Should an event occur on the A9 which resulted in the road requiring to be closed for safety, such as a landslip, a full emergency response of the highest priority would be co-ordinated.
“This would involve working with multiple agencies to do everything possible to re-open the A9 as soon as safely possible, including emergency services, Transport Scotland, the local authority, geotechnical specialists, engineers as well as our operations team on the ground.
“We take trunk road safety very seriously and work hard to mitigate against potential events such as that happening.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The inspection regimes of our operating companies are in line with industry best practice.”
The spokesman added that it is almost impossible to predict when and where landslides will occur.