Rising costs from Covid and Brexit have been blamed for delaying a much-needed pothole repair project in Aberdeenshire.
Complaints about the state of surfaces have grown in Portlethen, Newtonhill and Muchalls after a freezing winter.
It is understood that coronavirus lockdown restrictions delayed planned maintenance, causing knock-on effects across the network.
Aberdeenshire Council had advertised a £100,000 contract for firms to fix the roads.
However, quotes from the only two companies to bid came back over the budget amid extra costs for supplies and staff from Covid and Brexit.
Further talks have been scheduled in an attempt to drive down the price.
How bad are potholes in Aberdeenshire?
North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollision has described the condition of roads in the communities as the worst in his 14 years in the chambers.
Residents in Portlethen took the dramatic step of spraying around potholes with orange paint earlier this year to highlight hazards.
Slogans including “fix this” were also written out to call for action to be taken.
The £100,000 contract was published to try and resolve the long-term issues.
Further talks are due to take place with a local firm to negotiate the timescale of the project in the hope it will reduce the cost.
Mr Mollison explained Covid and Brexit had forced up the cost of materials for suppliers.
He said: “The roads are in dire need of fixing, add into the mix the challenge of getting staff and the increasing cost of materials and it’s very difficult.
“Apparently contractors are finding it’s just a nightmare – all these bad things like the winter, Covid and Brexit have come together.
“Potholes that would have been fixed in normal times are still there and understandably residents are getting annoyed.”
Aberdeenshire Council has previously warned that restrictions on supplies from quarries has led to temporary repairs being carried out more often.
However, it has stressed permanent repairs will be done where possible.
What repairs are being planned?
Aberdeenshire Council has advertised for tenders from firms to carry out a £100,000 project to fix potholes in Portlethen, Newtonhill and Muchalls.
The intended work is for “permanent” repairs, which last considerably longer than the standard 18-month temporary fixes.
It will involve damaged surfaces being cut out at right angles before a coat is applied to the base and vertical edge to prevent water seeping in.
Hot tar will then be laid applied before another surface is added to prevent water from seeping in.
Aberdeenshire Council has created a special £2.5million pothole fund this year in order to try and resolve the headache for motorists.
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “All contracts issued as part of our roads maintenance programme are for permanent repairs. Works of this type are routinely carried out by our in-house teams.
“However, internal resources are finite and from time to time we bring in external contractor support to ensure works are completed timeously within the available weather window.”