DRIVERS were forced into evasive action after a major West Lothian road cracked up in front of them.
Motorists had to swerve around the 10ft-wide hole in Whitburn Road, Bathgate, on Saturday afternoon.
Heavy showers and a burst drain were blamed as emergency engineers were deployed to patch-up the tarmac.
“It just appeared in front of us,” said one driver. “The road just crumbled away, I’m assuming it was because of the weather.”
The southbound carriageway of the B7002, near the Leyland Road roundabout, was made impassable by the crater with cars having to veer onto the other side of the road.
Drivers suffered delays as traffic slowed to safely negotiate the hazard from about 3pm onwards.
“People were driving around it because they couldn’t get over it,” added the driver. “It’s the major bus route out of Bathgate as well.
“There’s a lot of work going on down there with a new housing scheme going on but I don’t think that has anything to do with it – it’s just coincidental.”
A motorist group said extreme winter weather battering Scotland can wreak havoc with the country’s highways.
The region was buffeted by sleet, rain and snow on Saturday though conditions are expected to improve this week with mostly dry weather.
AA spokesman Luke Bosdet said: “Whereas most of England has got by with a relatively mild winter, the jet stream has taken some pretty atrocious weather through Scotland in recent weeks.
“Perhaps it’s inevitable that a road will give way occasionally, it just raises eyebrows when it’s such a major road.
“So long as the council gets it fixed quickly, then it’ll be put down to a casualty of winter.
“Our members in Scotland have been complaining of the condition of roads of late but I think this can be put down to extreme winter weather.”
The stretch of Whitburn Road affected is understood to have been resurfaced recently though poor maintenance is not thought to have been a factor.
Engineers will be back out on Whitburn Road today for further checks and to start work on fixing the hole with delays expected.
A spokesman for West Lothian Council said yesterday: “It was reported to us and we took immediate action to close the southbound side of the road.
“Our engineers will carry out further assessment tomorrow and look at what work is required to repair the road.
“It’s too early to say exactly what caused this but we suspect it may have been a combination of heavy rain/surface water and a defective drain. Incidents like this are not common on our roads.”