Fears have been raised that Moray’s massive repair bill could increase even further if changes are made to the way the nation’s roads are managed.
The Scottish Government is gathering views across the country about ending the distinction of routes being managed separately by Transport Scotland and local authorities.
A new model of managing routes over a wider area has been welcomed by Moray Council’s roads department as potentially cheaper and more efficient.
But concerns were yesterday raised about the costs associated with maintaining the additional sections of the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road and A95 Aviemore to Keith road that pass through the region.
Heldon and Laich councillor John Cowe, Buckie councillor Gordon Cowie and Elgin City South councillor John Divers all stressed extra cash would need to be secured from the Scottish Government if the burden for the routes was to pass to Moray Council.
Mr Cowe said: “We have all driven along the A96 through Alves on a daily basis for years.
“There are ruts in that road that have been there for years.
“Those are the responsibility of Bear Scotland. Why have they never been fixed?”
He added: “If there are changes made then I hope the Scottish Government can find the money because we certainly can’t.”
A report to the council’s economic development and infrastructure committee warned of a worsening situation on Moray’s roads amid a 40% decrease on maintenance spending due to tightening budgets.
The situation has led to a road repair bill of more than £40 million while officials warn routes could begin to “crumble” under the surface.
Council leader Graham Leadbitter said it was possible money allocated to Transport Scotland to maintain roads could instead by distributed to councils to maintain sections of trunk routes in their region.
He added: “A more collaborative approach can be beneficial.
“There were issues in Keith a few years ago when lower priority side roads were gritted by the council but the main A96 road was gritted later in the day because it was done by Bear. It didn’t make sense to a lot of people.
“There is a similar issue on the A95 at Craigellachie. It turns into the A941 and becomes the council’s responsibility but the public just see it as the same road.”