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Two-way traffic system in Inverness centre to be reinstated

The removal of Spaces for People in Inverness centre was voted for in August.

Traffic in Inverness will revert back to a two-way system next week after a vote to scrap the controversial Spaces for People measures in the city centre.

Members of the Inverness City Committee voted to axe the “ill thought-out” one-way system on Castle Street in August, although other measures were kept.

Highland Council had initially said it could take up to 14 weeks to bring back two-way traffic to the street, however, has now scheduled the required alterations to the traffic signals.

Work to return the two-way traffic system will begin on Monday next week.

Castle Street along with Bridge Street and Castle Road will revert to a two-way operation on the evening of Monday, November 15.

However, some restrictions will remain in place on Castle Street to allow the building construction work currently ongoing until spring next year.

With the return of the two-way traffic, motorists will no longer be permitted to turn right from Castle Street to Bridge Street.

‘Pivotal moment’ for the city

The move to scrap the one-way system around the castle and remove the social distancing barriers was described by councillors as a “pivotal moment” for the city.

However, they have supported retaining the Spaces for People scheme in principle, with some of the measures – along Academy Street and Riverside Way – still in place.

Castle Street traders had said the one-way system is harming business.

In August, officers warned that if the scheme was to be thrown out, the council would suffer significant reputational damage and lose out on millions of pounds of investment.

They also highlighted that the National Transport Strategy prioritises active travel over private cars, and the council itself has declared a climate emergency.

However, most members of the Inverness City Committee agreed that while a long-term strategy is welcome, the changes were unpopular and in some cases unsafe.

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