A LONG-AWAITED meeting between Highland Council road officials and representatives from Transport Scotland could light the way for life-saving changes on an Inverness road.
Councillor for Inverness West, Bill Boyd, wants to put an end to the frustrations surrounding Glenurquhart Road before someone is seriously injured or killed.
"I want to see this road made safer for everyone," Cllr Boyd said. "It is regularly used by mums with buggies, children and tourists, and it is constantly busy with lorries and trucks."
There is currently no controlled pedestrian crossing on the A82 between the junction of Tomnahurich Street and Kenneth Street and the Caledonian Canal – around one-and-a-half miles to the south.
Inverness High School, Central Primary School and St. Joseph’s Primary are all nearby, meaning that during term time there is a high concentration of children using the road.
"There has been a long history of unsuccessful attempts by community councils and other residents’ groups to have the issue addressed," Cllr Boyd said.
"Now a meeting has been convened with officials from Highland Council and Transport Scotland in on Friday, October 13, to begin to assess the requirements and plan what needs to be done to bring the standards of safety up to an acceptable level."
He believes the issue has often slipped between the jurisdiction of the council and Transport Scotland because of the positioning – both in the city centre but also because it is part of the designated A82 trunk road linking Inverness and Fort William.
Traffic levels on this road will be affected in December when the new West Link road linking the west and south of Inverness is scheduled to open.
Cllr Boyd has spent a great deal of time surveying the area since he was a community councillor.
Recently a crossing patroller outside a nearby school shared his experiences with Cllr Boyd, who said the patroller claimed that they take their life in their hands while on the busy road, with some drivers speeding up or swerving around them. This further highlighted the dangers to the councillor.
He said: "As this busy trunk road splits the Inverness West ward community in two, it is essential that adequate, safe crossings for pedestrians are available along its length."
"Residents must cross the road often while doing normal day-to-day activities such as shopping, going to school, visiting hospitals and surgeries, the theatre and boarding buses to and from the city.
"The traffic is usually heavy, especially in summer and at peak periods such as travel to school times. Often the speed is higher than it should be and it is not uncommon for there to be inappropriate parking."
As well as the support of Ballifeary Community Council, Cllr Boyd said he had the backing of MPs and MSPs.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart has argued that a new pedestrian crossing is vital for the area.
He has written to Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, asking him to look at the situation.
Transport Scotland previously rejected ideas for a new crossing claiming that their own studies showed that there was no single place where people tended to cross.
Cllr Boyd said: "Hopes are running high among Highland residents that the meeting between Highland Council and Transport Scotland will quickly find a solution that allows residents to traverse this busy road safely".