Major progress on plans for A9/A96 Inshes to Smithton Scheme in Inverness
Locals and road users will welcome the news that a preferred option for the much-needed single carriageway connecting Inshes and Smithton in the Highland capital has been identified.
The new road will open up opportunities for the development of East Inverness, as well as providing traffic relief on the A9 and A96 trunk roads.
Following assessment work, Option 3 has been chosen as the preferred option. This will see the new link road connecting between Culloden Road and Smithton Junction and will include new junctions at Ashton Farm and Cradlehall, a new link to the Inverness Retail and Business Park and a bridge over the Highland Main Line railway. Additional lanes will also be added across the A9 at Culloden Road, providing two lanes of traffic in either direction.
The preferred option is on display today in Inshes Church and tomorrow in Smithton-Culloden Free Church. It can also be viewed on the scheme’s web page.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said:
“We have been progressing option design and assessment work for a single carriageway road connecting Inshes and Smithton in Inverness as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment within the £315 million Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal which will see significant investment in Inverness’s transport infrastructure. This investment will improve access to and within the local communities and at the same time improve accessibility to jobs, education including the University of the Highlands and Islands, and development along the A96 corridor.
“The preferred option on show today and tomorrow and available to view online, marks a major milestone in the design of this new link road.
“As well as contributing to The Highland Council’s development plans for East Inverness, the scheme will reduce traffic on the A9 and A96 passing through Raigmore Interchange and improve safety by reducing traffic levels on key parts of the local road network. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to redesign the scheme to minimise impacts on the mature trees along Caulfield Road North, taking account of feedback following public exhibitions last year.
“The new road will also provide enhanced facilities for non-motorised users, including cyclists and the details of this will be developed during the next stage of design which will now be progressed.
“I would encourage anyone with an interest to come along to one of the venues today or tomorrow to view our plans and to have an opportunity to discuss them with our team and provide vital comments by 13 December 2017.”
Transport Scotland is working closely with The Highland Council to ensure that the scheme fits with their Development Plan for the area east of the A9. As part of that partnership working, a representative from The Highland Council will also be in attendance at the exhibitions to answer any questions on existing and planned development at East Inverness.
Council Leader, Margaret Davidson said:
“We welcome the progress being made on this important Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal project and will continue to work in partnership with Transport Scotland as they move on to the next stage in the design process.”