Plans to improve the notorious Longman roundabout in Inverness have taken a huge step forward with the awarding of a £1million contract for ground investigations.
Transport Scotland has announced its intention to award a contract to Soil Engineering Geoservices Ltd as part of the A9/A82 Longman Junction Improvement scheme.
A flyover design has been unveiled as the Scottish Government’s preferred solution to Inverness’s Longman roundabout next to the Kessock Bridge.
In the past traffic calming methods, such as the installation of traffic lights, have been deployed to address congestion.
However, extended tailbacks and lengthy delays have resulted in calls for further action.
Government bosses have determined that the preferred option will consist of a single large roundabout at ground level, with the A9 raised above as four connecting slip roads to allow motorists access to the north’s busiest road.
The new layout, which has been chosen as the preferred option out of five proposals, will maintain connections to the A82 and Stadium Road, with the existing roundabout enlarged to incorporate two bridges which will house the A9 above, with access for pedestrians and cyclists also expected to be enhanced.
Subject to completion of the mandatory standstill period, work is programmed to start in early October and is expected to last around eight weeks subject to weather.
Transport secretary Michael Matheson said: “As part of the Scottish Government’s commitment within the £315 million Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, we are taking forward our plans to improve the traffic bottleneck at Longman in the Highland capital.
“Having let the public see and comment on the preferred option for the scheme in June, we are continuing to push forward with the design of the preferred option in greater detail, with a view to publishing draft Orders next year.
“These ground investigations will provide the detailed information needed to help inform the ongoing development and assessment of the preferred option.”
A Transport Scotland spokesperson added: “Some of this work will take place on or near the live carriageway and in order to ensure the safety of road workers and road users we will need to introduce traffic management arrangements.
“Road users and local communities will be kept informed of our plans and we will endeavour to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum.”