The £10million final stage of the Inverness West Link bypass – described as the “gateway to the Highlands” – will finally get under way next month.
It includes a controversial second swing bridge at Tomnahurich, aimed at reducing congestion on that side of the city. Many residents had campaigned for a tunnel.
West Link Phase 2 – now known as the Torvean Gateway – will complete the construction of the overall £55m bypass development on the outskirts of Inverness.
Highland Council has awarded the latest £10.1m contract to local firm RJ McLeod, from Dingwall, who will build the additional swing bridge and roundabout, with the associated realignment of General Booth Road.
Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson said: “The first stage of the West Link has been a great success and both the road and active travel routes are being very well used, reducing congestion in the city.
“This stage of the West-Link will bring many more benefits to the area, including reducing journey times for many.
“The second swing bridge will be an enormous bonus to keep the traffic flowing on the A82, especially with an ageing Tomnahurich Bridge.”
Councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of the environment, development and infrastructure committee, added: “The scheme is also enabling housing development and associated developer contributions as well as other opportunities, such as a new school.
“The Benefit to Cost Ratio of the West Link project is 3.86, which represents nearly £4 of benefit to every £1 of public investment.”
The Kings – formerly Torvean – golf course will complete its relocation to its new home, leaving two large areas of land for redevelopment.
The council has earmarked this land for a potential new school, a small residential site, community and mixed use, a hotel, and parks.
The construction of a second bridge over the Caledonian Canal will be to the south of the existing Tomnahurich swing bridge.
General Booth Road will be realigned further east and linked into a new roundabout on the A82.
The tandem bridge arrangement is aimed to allow the free flow of vehicle traffic, while boats pass through one or other of the open swing bridges.
There will normally be two routes available for vehicles to cross the canal and vehicles will be diverted over one or other bridge, only while the other is open to allow boat passage.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
Operation of the bridges will be managed from a new control building located on the canal side between the two bridges.
Having completed construction of the new golf clubhouse and maintenance building, contractors Compass will later this month start work on the bridge control building.
All the works are programmed to be complete in December 2020.