A major flood improvement scheme in Inverness will get under way in the spring after Highland Council issued an £11million contract notice.
The Smithton and Culloden Flood Protection Scheme will involve works at four locations in the area, protecting 129 properties that would otherwise be hit by a once-in-200 years flood event.
Council chiefs identified the need for a flood prevention scheme after significant flooding in the area in 2002, July and August 2011 – when 50 homes were affected – and again in October 2014.
The council, which is now inviting tenders or requests to participate, has been criticised for not getting the project under way sooner. Culloden resident Alex Nicol said: “Next year is 15 years too late. If the job had been done 15 years ago when the first flood came I wonder what it would have cost them? Probably only about £3million.”
A spokeswoman for the council said it has always been shown in the capital plan as work starting next financial year.
She said: “The estimated date of dispatch of invitations to tender is November 30. Any company tendering will then have time to prepare their submissions – this is normally eight weeks – and then these submissions need to be assessed before the contract is awarded. Once the contractor is appointed, discussions can begin on the start date.”
The work includes the removal of a concrete culvert pipe at Murray Terrace and replacement with an open channel, incorporating step pools, reinforced concrete channel and natural channel bed. There will also be a timber footbridge and connecting paths.
At Smithton Park the burn will be de-culverted and replaced with a natural channel, incorporating rock armour step pools. There will be a flood storage basin and flow control device. Two seven-a-side football pitches, new path network and associated landscaping will also be provided.
At Redburn Avenue a concrete pipe culvert will be replaced with a new larger box culvert in private gardens. Garden lawns, fencing, hedging and trees will be reinstated.
A new flood storage basin will be installed at Culloden Park with a new channel incorporating embankments and a vehicle access track.
As part of the project the park will get a new full sized football pitch, new path network, footbridge and associated landscaping. A new wetland area will be created.
The Scottish Government is expected to foot 80% of the bill, with the council paying for the rest.