Businesses in a Moray village have warned closing a road that will cut them off from the tourist trail will be a “disaster”.
The A939 from Corgarff to the Lecht will be closed for essential repairs to the surface and bridges from June 20.
Traffic will be directed away using the main route from Deeside to Grantown through Tomintoul.
Last night Drew McPherson, owner of the Clockhouse restaurant in the village, fears he could lose “thousands” during the works.
He said: “There are businesses here that will go on holiday for three weeks. There’s going to be nobody here for them. It’s a disaster.”
Aberdeenshire Council insist the work has been scheduled to avoid the peak tourist season – but the closure clashes with the Tomintoul Motorcycle Gathering.
Ron Hughes, chairman of Kirkmichael and Tomintoul Community Association, fears the impact could be devastating on the flourishing village.
He said: “We realise that road works have to take place but this is scheduled for a commercially vital period.
“Businesses estimate a large drop in revenue. Concern within our community is very high and we believe that this project would be better rescheduled for later in the year.
“This project has been poorly handled so far and a pragmatic solution needs to be found with all urgency.”
Aberdeenshire Council had originally estimated the road would be closed until July 10, but now hope to have it finished by July 1. It will also be open the weekend of June 25 and 26.
The authority’s head of roads and landscape Services, Philip McKay, said: “If the work can be completed in a shorter timescale then the road will be re-opened sooner but the work is very weather dependent, in an isolated location.
“We are also taking the chance to carry out some other programmed maintenance work to bridges and drainage, avoiding further road closures in the near future.
“The closure of this route, whenever it takes place, will cause inconvenience and delays, but we know it’s important to keep it open as much as possible for the rest of the year and in a good condition. Carrying out the work now gives the best chance of completing it in the shortest possible time.”