A busy thoroughfare in the centre of Inverness will remain closed until next year because of delays in the city’s troubled flood defence project.
Work on the River Ness Flood Alleviation Scheme on Bank Street will continue until at least April despite hopes that construction would be completed by November.
Businesses in the street have expressed frustration about the delays.
The project experienced major issues earlier this year when huge boulders were found by workers carrying out sheet piling on Bank Street.
Contractors Morgan Sindall suspended operations and shifted work over the river to Huntly Street while they dealt with the issue.
While significant progress has been made since then, the first phase, between Ness Bridge and Friars Bridge, will not finish until April.
Walls have been constructed along the length of the riverbank however these have yet to be completed.
A pumping sub-station is also to be constructed close to Friars Lane.
Colin Howell, the Highland Council’s head of infrastructure, said he could understand businesses’ frustrations.
He added that some compensation payments have already been paid to businesses in the area who had lost out.
Mr Howell said that while an earlier contract had moved gas and other pipes under the road, engineers were still finding utility pipes as they continued their excavations.
A larger than expected number of tree roots has also made the job more complex.
Mr Howell said: “I can understand the frustration if you are trying to run a business and you have a construction site outside.”
There was anger locally when it appeared that work had failed to resume after Bank Street was re-shut following the summer period.
The road will reopen from November, allowing traders to benefit from the busy Christmas period.
However the road will close again after the New Year.