Potholes on the A9 caused chaos for rush-hour traffic as commuters headed home from Inverness towards Dingwall.
At least four cars suffered burst tyres and were off the road after hitting the damaged carriageway near The Storehouse of Foulis, Evanton.
It happened at around 7pm on Thursday, during the peak time for commuters heading home north from Inverness.
Eyewitnesses said there were at least three large potholes in the area. The situation caused huge tailbacks and general traffic chaos as the damaged cars came to a standstill.
Police were on the scene and roads maintenance company Bear Scotland was out by 9pm filling in the holes.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart said: “It’s very concerning that so many motorists were affected and, from a road safety point of view, burst tyres can cause steering problems which can lead to more serious accidents.
“Any driver catching a pothole at speed on the A9 is in a precarious position, so I do hope that Transport Scotland and BEAR move quickly to repair this problem.
“When it comes to infrastructure improvements and maintenance, the Scottish Government continues to cut budgets and must do more to ensure motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are kept safe on the roads.”
Maxine Smith, a councillor for Invergordon, was travelling home from Inverness when she hit one of the craters at around 6.30pm.
She said: “It must have been a really deep hole because I didn’t see it. It was on the left hand side. I was driving along in a queue of traffic when I bounced right into it. It was disgusting.
“It must have just happened because it wasn’t like that before. I travel that road every day. I must have been lucky because I drive a 4×4 and my tyres were OK. I must have just missed the tailbacks.
“At least Bear dealt with it quickly. They will have a few claims in now and I would think.”
A spokeswoman for Bear said: “Our control room team received a call from police advising of road defects on the A9 approximately 1.5 miles north of Cromarty Bridge around 8pm on Thursday, and we immediately arranged for our incident response service (ISU) to inspect the area and make the road safe.
“The team arrived on site around 9pm and carried out temporary repairs to three potholes in the area.
“Trunk road safety is our top priority and a surfacing scheme for a section of the A9 between Storehouse to Foulis is due to take place in the next financial year. In the meantime we’ll continue to monitor the route and carry out any repairs as required.”
She said they couldn’t comment on individual claims, but added: “All claims received are assessed according to industry guidelines and processed accordingly on a case by case basis.”