The final connection in the ambitious new West Link in Inverness has been completed with the opening of a swing bridge.
Pedestrians and traffic used the Torvean crossing for the first time today.
The new bridge is the latest landmark in the West Link project, which has been underway for several years but is now drawing to a conclusion.
West Link to remove ‘traffic bottlenecks’ in city
The Torvean Bridge, coupled with the Tomnahurich swing bridge, is a core element of the ambitious congestion-busting project.
The new crossing will allow the free flow of vehicles on the A82 Drumnadrochit road over the Caledonian Canal while boats pass through the other open swing bridge.
Now the Inverness swing bridge has been completed it will allow for two routes of the canal as part of the new West Link when boats are not passing through.
Trish Robertson, chairwoman of Highland Council’s economy and infrastructure committee, described the opening as a “landmark day” for the city.
She said: “The project also forms part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal which is aimed at stimulating sustainable, regional economic growth.
“The West Link will allow the peripheral growth of Inverness and reduce traffic congestion in the city centre. It will also reduce existing canal bridge delays and waiting times.
“The associated developments enabled by the West Link will expand the active travel network removing bottlenecks and barriers to cycling and walking and will release land for development identified in the local plan.”
West Link to bring multiple benefits to Inverness
Work on the new Torvean swing bridge, which links the A82 with Dores Road, was initially due to be completed late last year before being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mrs Robertson has praised teams involved for still being able to complete the work with a minimal delay while still being on-budget.
Funding for the huge project came from the council as well as the Inverness and Highland City – Region Deal, which was supported by the Scottish and UK governments.
Other benefits expected from the West Link in Inverness once it is completed include opening up more land for housing in the Ness-side and Torvean areas.
New sports facilities have also been delivered in the area with hopes improved journey times for all, including emergency services.
Graham Ross, chairman of Highland Council’s community liaison group, has praised the support of the public through the process.
He said: “The group’s input has been extremely valuable throughout the whole project and has ensured that there has been excellent communication between the council, the contractors and the community.”