While the pressure continues to mount on ministers to accelerate the upgrading of the whole road south of Inverness to a dual carriageway, the notorious Berriedale Braes, north of the Sutherland village of Helmsdale, present a different problem.
At this point, the road drops from nearly 500ft above sea level to 65ft with gradients of 13%. On the north side, there is a hairpin bend which HGVs can only negotiate by taking up most of the road.
Ground investigations are now under way at Berriedale Braes. Transport Minister Keith Brown was on site to see the drilling rig start its work yesterday.
He said: "The Scottish Government has signalled its commitment to addressing the road alignment at Berriedale Braes, easing the problem for HGVs and other long vehicles in particular.
"To help identify the right solution, we are carrying out detailed design work and these ground investigations are a vital part of that. As the design work progresses we will continue to work with our partners and expect to have a preferred option ready next summer."
The £90,000 contract for these works, which are expected to last three weeks, was recently awarded to BAM Ritchies. Transport Scotland is providing additional funding to cover the total cost of the ground investigation works to progress this important element of the design process.
Local SNP MSP Rob Gibson said: "I am glad to see the Transport Minister come to Caithness to mark the start of the investigation into finding the best way to improve the Berriedale Braes.
"It shows the seriousness and progress that he and the SNP Government has taken to get the steep bend on the north slope of the Braes made safer and more manageable.
"Bear in mind there's been 40 years or so of talk on this matter but it is only in the last three years that we are seeing some concrete actions to help solve it. I too would like to have seen the Berriedale Braes problem solved yesterday, however, there is welcome progress."