In March 2016 the Scottish Government announced it would invest up to £135 million as part of a £315 million Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal which included the commitment “to delivering the strategic A9/A96 Link Road improvement and grade separation of the Longman Interchange.”
Transport Scotland appointed design consultants, Jacobs UK in August 2017 to progress the next phases of the design process. The Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) Stage 2 assessment of options is currently underway with the outcome to identify a preferred junction arrangement expected to be completed in winter 2018. The preferred option will then be developed further during the DMRB Stage 3 concluding with the publication of draft Road Orders. Thereafter progress will be dependent on the public reaction to the draft Orders and whether a Public Local Inquiry is required.
As part of the on-going Stage 2 assessment, we will be undertaking traffic modelling, taking into account future transport growth within Inverness and the surrounding area. We will also be undertaking studies to gain a better understanding of the underlying ground conditions and will develop our understanding of environmental factors.
The A9/A82 Longman Junction Improvement scheme is located on the A9 trunk road in Inverness. The junction forms a strategic link with the A82 trunk road as well as accommodating traffic movements from the A96 trunk road via the adjacent Raigmore Junction, located immediately to the south on the A9. Furthermore, the Longman Junction also caters for local traffic movements providing a key link to surrounding developments located on the east and west sides of the A9.
The Scottish Government’s Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR), published in 2008, included targeted road congestion relief schemes to reduce conflicts between strategic and local traffic. In addition, the objectives set within the STPR for the A9 corridor included: “Improve the operational effectiveness of the A9 as it approaches Perth and Inverness”.
In 2010 Transport Scotland commissioned Jacobs UK to undertake the A9/A96 Inshes to Nairn DMRB Stage 2 Study with public exhibitions held in February 2012. Following significant feedback from these exhibitions, the A9/A96 Connections Study was commissioned to look at the wider traffic issues associated with junctions on the A9, A96 and A82 and was carried out in line with the principles of Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG).
Transport Scotland worked in partnership with The Highland Council (THC) during this study to co-ordinate the land-use and transport plans for the area. The study appraised of the problems, opportunities and issues relating to the movement of traffic along these key routes, the interaction between them and the development in the surrounding area and identified problems associated with delays at the A9/A82 Longman Junction.
The findings of the A9/A96 Connections Study were reported in February 2016 and specifically recommended the grade-separation of Longman roundabout to relieve congestion at this strategic junction.
View details of the A9/96 Connections Study