A Caithness Highland councillor is appalled that no new upgrades in the trunk road network north of Dornoch are being scheduled over the next 10 years.
Matthew Reiss believes the lack of action to upgrade blackspots on the A9 and A99 will worsen the already rising rate of accidents and road closures.
He said addressing two of the most hazardous stretches would cost a tiny fraction of the £6 billion cost of the full dualling of the A9 from Perth to Inverness and the A96 from Inverness to Aberdeen.
Mr Reiss said: “We’re not expecting a brand new, shiny dual carriageway or anything like it and I don’t begrudge the sums being spent on these routes.
“But I was absolutely shocked when I asked Transport Scotland what capital projects were planned for the trunk road network north of Dornoch and they said zero.”
Mr Reiss said the £9 million scheme ongoing to realign the notorious north hairpin at the Berriedale Braes is welcome.
But he said the other nearby stretches between Dunbeath and Newport and between Portgower and Helmsdale badly need upgrading.
He said: “With the rising volume of traffic, especially timber lorries and other heavy goods vehicles, you can see huge ruts opening up on the side of some of the carriageway.
“Over the summer, I’ve seen many near misses and worse on the A9 and
I honestly fear something horrendous is going to happen involving an ambulance or a coach.”
Mr Reiss, a former senior police officer in the area, said the official accident rate does not include minor, non-injury collisions and near misses.
He has been told improvements to the two 10-mile sections either side of Berriedale would cost less than 1% of the full dualling of the trunk road south and east of Inverness.
He said: “In the big scheme of things, it is not a lot of money and I don’t think it is an unreasonable demand for the Scottish Government to meet.”
“If Ministers are serious about helping the far north, we need less talk and some money invested in what is genuinely a lifeline route.
“This road was not designed for the volume and size of vehicles now travelling along it.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman last night said: “The A9 and A99 are vital lifeline routes for the far north of Scotland.
“We recognise this importance and since 2007, the Scottish Government has invested almost £221 million in the maintenance of the A9 and £6.2 million on the A99.”
With the Berriedale scheme under way, the spokesman added that road safety investigations are programmed for Thurso, Georgemas, Helmsdale and Latheron.