The main roads through a Lochaber town became grid-locked today when contractors started digging up the A82 Inverness to Glasgow road.
The busy trunk road through Fort William appeared to be at a standstill and, at one point, the tailbacks stretched for three or four miles in all directions.
The Press and Journal received calls from angry motorists who were stuck in traffic jams between Inverlochy Castle Hotel at Torlundy and the West End Roundabout at the other end of the town.
Traffic was also backed up on the A830 Road to the Isles, with vehicles queuing back towards Banavie swing bridge.
The cause of the problem was a small area of road that had been dug up outside National Tyres on North Road.
Traffic lights were in operation, but they were unable to keep vehicles moving due to the sheer volume of traffic that uses the road on a Friday afternoon in the tourist season.
A lorry driver, who did not want to be named, contacted the Press and Journal when he became stuck in the traffic on the A830 Road to the Isles.
He said: “The road is grid-locked. It seems crazy that they’re doing more road works just as the tourist season is getting underway.”
And a local woman said it took her 45 minutes to drive the four miles between Fort William and Corpach when she finished work.
The work was being carried out by Diona Construction Ltd, of Glasgow, on behalf of BT.
Stewart Maclean, of the A82 Partnership, said: “Once again, this demonstrates the vulnerability of our road infrastructure in and around Fort William and the lack of consideration given to local consumers by the utility companies.”
Diona supervisor, Paul Laughlin, said they had permission from Bear Scotland to work on the road between 9.30am and 4pm.
He said: “We were laying a new duct for BT to provide broadband for the Ben Nevis Hotel. The work is now complete.
“We used manually controlled traffic lights and tried to keep the traffic flowing as best we could.”