Plans for major improvements to one of the city’s busiest and most unpopular roundabouts were unveiled to the public for the first time yesterday – to a mixed reaction.
The Longman Roundabout is one of the largest in the city, connecting the A9 and A82 trunk roads, and has been subject to gridlock for many years.
As part of the Longman Junction Improvement Scheme, Transport Scotland is aiming to reduce traffic congestion by improving the effectiveness of the A9 and A82 on its approach to the bottleneck junction.
During a public exhibition at the Inverness Town House yesterday, a total of five designs were on display – shortlisted from an original selection of ten considerations – incorporating a number of slipways and traffic islands.
Samy Jamieson, Project Director for Transport Scotland Longman improvement said the improvements were vital, something many local people will be acutely aware of. He said: “I think any of the locals up here will know the constraints the Longman junction places on the network at the moment. We are here to show the amount of work that has been put in already and explain the work we still have to do to make sure the right option, to improve accessibility and reduce congestion and access to Inverness.”
Option number 10 proved to be a popular choice for some due to its simple design, whereas others preferred options one and four expressing that the traffic islands would help control traffic flow.
The project, worth an estimated £135 million is part of a £315 million Inverness and Highland City- Region Deal.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “Improving the traffic bottleneck at Longman is a key priority of the Scottish Government and we have been working hard to develop possible options for this important junction and we can now let the public see and comment on five options under consideration.
“The Longman Junction Improvement scheme is part of the Scottish Government’s commitment within the £315 million Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal. As well as Longman, significant investment will be made in the trunk road network to deliver the A9/A96 Inshes to Smithton Link Road. When completed, these schemes will reduce congestion and improve accessibility to Inverness.”
A second day of public consultations will take place today at the Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s Football Stadium between noon and 7pm.
“The Longman is only busy in the morning and at night time. I went through that junction at 5pm yesterday and we kept moving. My questions is, is it a big priority?
“I like option 10 which is shortlisted. It’s much simpler and includes less work as well.”
Allan Mowat, 71, retired from Inverness.
“It should not have reached this stage. They put up the lights when doing the bridge but once they were done with the bridge they didn’t take them down. They should put it back to the way it was. To improve it they should widen it round a bit to accommodate everyone.
“If they are going to do something, they should pick the correct solution, option one. The trouble is demolishing the existing structure and building something new but how long is it going to take and what will happen to the traffic.”
Donald Macgregor, 70, retired from Smithton.
“It’s in the early stages in terms of information and costs. Option one and four is probably best. The island will control the flow of the traffic.
“When we think about pedestrians from the football park on match day, it’s going to be a problem. It’s going to be difficult to patrol the traffic.”
Andy Foley, retired from Dingwall
“I think it all looks good, there is a wide range of options. Option one and ten should be perused. There would be less wasted land and more roundabouts are not a good idea.”
Anthony Windle, 66, retired from Farr.