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Calls for A82 Highland road to go in a new direction


By Louise Glen

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Morgan Cowley of Common Weal wants to see less traffic in Inverness city centre.
Morgan Cowley of Common Weal wants to see less traffic in Inverness city centre.

Campaigners are calling for the A82 to be redirected away from Inverness city centre.

Morgan Cowley, from Common Weal, believes traffic should be sent along the Southern Distributor Road to join the A9 instead.

He has now raised the matter with the Inverness Community Planning Transport group – which broadly supported the idea.

Mr Cowley said: “Last year we did a household survey of people who live on the roadside of the A82, including homes in Glenurquhart Road, Tomnahurich Street and Kenneth Street, and they shared stories of the difficulties of living by the side of the trunk road.

“Common Weal is about looking for solutions for Scotland in matters of social and economic equality.

“People are fairly despondent that things will never change.

“The pathways along the side of the A82 on these streets are fairly narrow and because the road is so busy, people cannot cycle along the road so they use the path.”

He continued: “We want to ask again that consideration is given to simply re-routing the road from the canal along the Southern Distributor Road.

“However, we are told that truck drivers don’t like roundabouts, so that route may not be acceptable to them. Perhaps there is something that could be improved about the roundabouts if they are not suitable.”

Helen Smith, the chairwoman of Ballifaery Community Council, backed the idea and believed it would also improve the air quality for people keen to walk and cycle in the area.

“It would be a step forward for active travel to and from the city centre,” she added.

Councillor Ron MacWilliam, chairman of the Inverness Community Planning Transport group, thought there was a strong case for the change.

“There is also a case for some type of park and ride/cycle/walk facility on that side of Inverness to assist commuters and shoppers wanting to access the city centre,” he said.

“I applaud the efforts of those who are campaigning to have this issue heard and I would encourage all politicians to engage with the discussion.

“The West Link Road has taken some of the traffic burden away but making the route officially the A82 could encourage more motorists to avoid the city centre altogether.”

Inverness MP Drew Hendry commended the Common Weal for engaging with residents.

“People have been walking and cycling for exercise, using the car a lot less and building community resilience by looking after their neighbours,” he said.

“They could well want to see better infrastructure provision to support these activities in the future.”

Some motorists are known to avoid the A82 city centre route by using General Booth Road.

Self-employed truck driver Andy Brown said: “The real issue is that much of

the haulage traffic in the

city is going to the industrial estates on the shore, and drivers want to take the quickest route which

is through Glenurquhart Road and on to Kenneth Street.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said there were no plans to re-route the A82.

Related article: Survey to ask if trunk road should be re-routed

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