Motorists are being warned that they face regular delays on the A96 to the west of Elgin this week as tree felling operations get under way.
A half-mile stretch of the main route to Inverness will be closed for periods of up to 10 minutes as hundreds of fir trees are felled between 9.30am and 3.30pm from Monday to Friday.
Traffic will be halted in both directions around Newton Toll as timber merchants James Jones & Sons carry out the operation that they warn may overflow into the early part of next week.
Traffic from the Pluscarden and Burghead junctions should be able to head towards Alves at the start of the week but that situation will change as the felling moves westwards.
Senior harvesting manager for James Jones & Sons is Sandy Hogg, who said: “We do not want to halt traffic or frustrate drivers for the sake of it but this work has to be done and it has to be done safely.
“There will probably be major holdups on the A96 east of Alves and west of Elgin every day next week. The over-mature trees we are felling are now a safety hazard because of the risk they might fall on the road.”
Mr Hogg added that the work could not be carried out overnight as the hand-cutters being used to fell the trees could not be operated in the dark for safety reasons.