Tailbacks of more than 30 vehicles disrupted parts of Inverness yesterday as the latest instalment of the Spaces for People project took effect.
The backlog of vehicles, particularly on the junction of Haugh Road and Castle Road, came about as Highland Council implemented the first day of its new one-way system around Inverness Castle to allow for more space for people to get out walking, cycling or wheeling.
The latest instalment comes as part of £2million worth of funding secured by the local authority from the Scottish Government for the active travel project.
Those living near the pinch point by the River Ness described the backlog of vehicles and lack of signage on approach as “chaos” in the early parts of yesterday afternoon.
Highland Council said the purpose of the implementation is to “welcome people back into the city centre as businesses reopen and we recover from the pandemic”.
A spokeswoman said disruption was to be expected as “people learn the route and how to adapt, which is common for major road alterations” however added that Highland Council apologises for any inconvenience.
She added: “We expect that the disruption will settle down in the coming days but will continue to monitor the situation and will respond appropriately, if necessary.
“We are keen to continue our conversation with the community, which have so far expressed majority support for this project.”
Red lights at Ness Bridge caused the lengthy tailbacks of up to 30 vehicles.
Local councillor Bet McAllister yesterday said signage improvements and shorter waits at traffic lights could help ease some of the woes.
She said: “It seems there are teething problems and better signage could help solve that.
“Signposting is important and so is the timing of traffic lights to make sure people are not waiting longer.
“I am hoping the council will listen to what people are saying and hopefully something can be implemented so this is remedied.
“We all hate being in traffic jams but living in the Highlands we have got nothing like in other cities and usually it is not too bad.
“We have to be a wee bit patient at the moment.
“The council will be looking at this and seeing if there is anything better they should have done and if there is something they can do to make it a little easier for people travelling by car then I would encourage them to do that.”
Under the Spaces for People project, changes to road layouts can remain in place for as long as 18 months, however, changes can be implemented sooner.
Highland Council has asked for feedback to be delivered via its consultation website: consult.highland.gov.uk/kse/