Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

VIDEO: First motorists try out Inverness’s new West Link bypass

The £55m West Link bypass in Inverness was officially opened yesterday by city Provost Helen Carmichael and two local primary school children.

The ribbon to the long-awaited development was cut at 9.49am by Kinmylies and Holm P7 pupils Kelsey Campbell and Roddy Maclennan, who is the son of the project’s chief engineer, Iain.

It is the biggest infrastructure project of its kind in the city since the Inverness Flood Alleviation Scheme protected around 800 homes along the bank of the river Ness.

Highland Council Leader Margaret Davidson is convinced the new distributor road, which links the A82 and the Dores Road, will be a financial boost to the city.

She said: “It is key to unlocking many things – economic development, new housing, outdoor access – in an ordered, safe way.

“Look at the end product. We have not devastated the green space in Inverness, we have enhanced it. There will be access to the river which we have never had before.”

Councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of the environment, development and infrastructure committee, noted the project was first mooted half a century ago.

Welcoming the completion of phase one, he said: “Now at long last, after many decades, the West Link is now a reality – delivered on time, and on budget.”

He added: “The benefit to cost ratio of the West Link project represents nearly £4 of benefit for every £1 of public investment.”

The scheme aims to provide easy A9/A82 access, reducing journey times in the south of the city when travelling from one side of the River Ness to the other.

Mr Henderson added: “The route will therefore significantly reduce congestion and pollution in the city centre.”

Colin Howell, the council’s head of infrastructure, agreed that the new route’s practicality was likely to win many friends.

He stated: “I think, as soon as the road opens, that people will realise we should have had this donkey’s years ago.

“What with the road, the infrastructure foot path and the cycling way, it will be a real benefit for the people of inverness.”

It was also a special day for those making their initial trips across the bridge, including Sandra Wilson, 77, who was one of the first across the Ness Bridge in 1960.

Mrs Wilson currently lives near the new West Link and is supportive of the development.

She said: “I think it is great, it will really help with the traffic in Inverness.

“It will be good for the young ones as they will be able to reach the sports areas a lot easier now.”

Plans for the West Link date back to the late 1960s and have been revisited and resurrected in almost every subsequent decade.

The £55million project forms part of the Inverness and Highland City Region deal, a joint initiative supported by a £315million investment.

That cash comes from the UK and Scottish governments, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and the University of the Highlands and Islands.


Plans for an Inverness bypass were first touted half a century ago.

  • Late 1960s: Jamieson and Mackay Consultants identified the need and advantage of such a route.
  • 1973: Malcolm McCall, chartered civil engineer with Inverness County Council, wrote a report on proposals for a southern distributor.
  • 1974: Inverness County Council endorsed the principle of such a route.
  • 1975: The Inverness plan was published to explain the land-use strategy that would fit the route, calling for a distributor road that would allow Inverness to develop.
  • 1980s/90s: Expansion of routes that make up the southern distributor discussed further.
  • December 2010: First public consultation- a series of public meetings and exhibitions were held in the city.
  • November/December 2011: Second public consultation.
  • March 2012: Highland Council accepts a fixed link across the River Ness and the Caledonian Canal. Estimated cost is £27.2 million.
  • August 2012: Route developed for Consultation. Capita Symonds Appointed to develop proposals.
  • April 2013: Third public consultation, part of Major Project Pre-application Process.
  • September 2013: Cost rises to £34.39million.
  • December 2014: start of the planning process for the enhancements to the Highland Rugby Club.
  • February 2015: Highland Council confirms the cost of the project would now rise from £36.6m to £43.3m, taking inflation into account.
  • April 2015: Detailed planning application for the Canal Parks Enhancement Project submitted.
  • August 2015: Full planning permission was granted, including the Canal Parks Enhancement Project.
  • September 2015: Construction begins on the bridge across the River Ness.
  • May 3, 2016: Construction begins on the West Link road.
  • September 2017: First foot traffic crosses the bridge, which was named the Holm Mills Bridge by a public vote
  • December 10, 2017: The West Link is officially opened, with a final cost put at £55m.