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Highland Council to extend public consultation over planned road developments in Inshes area of Inverness

By Val Sweeney

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The roundabout next to Drakies Park. Picture: James Mackenzie
The roundabout next to Drakies Park. Picture: James Mackenzie

The consultation is to be extended following the postponement of a drop-in event due to “extremely high” Covid-19 rates.

Highland Council officials had planned to hold face-to-face sessions today to discuss proposals to tackle traffic congestion at Inshes roundabout – a notorious bottleneck – and the surrounding roads.

It was due to be held at Inshes Primary School but a council spokesman said: “A new date for the event will follow in due course.”

He also confirmed the consultation period would be extended although the exact date was still to be determined.

Residents’ fears and concerns over the proposals have deepened after Lidl recently revealed plans for a new food store and affordable homes on a site close to the roundabout. One local has been prompted to produce his own illustration highlighting the new traffic lights and roundabouts which motorists may have to negotiate while another has put forward a bold vision to create a road bridge over the existing roundabout.

Kenny Mackenzie, a sales coordinator of Culduthel, did not think most people understood the potential impact of the proposals which he described as “horrendous”.

Mr Mackenzie, who is also a specialist photographer with his own business, has combined two sets of council plans into one.

“These plans are almost criminal, and will cause complete traffic chaos with nowhere for the traffic to go,” he said.

Kenny Mackenzie. Picture: James Mackenzie
Kenny Mackenzie. Picture: James Mackenzie

“The council, meanwhile, is allowing hundreds of new houses to be built in Milton of Leys, Ness Castle, Ness Side, Slackbuie and soon to be Fairways.

“All of this will hugely increase the traffic in this area, which will be at a complete standstill 95 per cent of the time as you will just move from one set of traffic lights to the next.

Kenny Mackenzie has produced an illustration depicting the proposals for the Inshes traffic corridor.
Kenny Mackenzie has produced an illustration depicting the proposals for the Inshes traffic corridor.

“If these plans go ahead, I would seriously consider selling my house and moving to the other side of town or out of Inverness completely. They are horrendous.”

Meanwhile, Arthur Millwood, of West Heather Road, has come up with his own innovative solution to create a “gateway” bridge over the existing roundabout.

It would take traffic travelling between the southern distributor road and the A9 while pedestrian tunnels would be another feature.

Mr Millwood (83), a retired engineer in the glass industry, said there needed to be a 21st-century solution to the issue rather than just focusing on a “set of boring traffic lights”.

“Surely, the city of Inverness deserves something better that would provide some kind of technical and design elegance to create a gateway statement to visitors and residents coming in from all points to join the ring road and to access Raigmore Hospital,” he said.

Arthur Millwood. Picture: James Mackenzie
Arthur Millwood. Picture: James Mackenzie

“I know the budget is tight, but this is a city, for goodness sake.

“Are we so badly off we cannot make some decent gesture which would enhance the whole area for residents and visitors?”

Mr Millwood acknowledged he had not costed his proposals, but had responded to the invitation by Highland Council to participate in the public consultation.

The area included in the so-called Inshes corridor includes the eastern approach to the Inshes roundabout on the B9006 across the A9 flyover, access to Inshes retail park, Sir Walter Scott Drive (north and south) of Inshes roundabout, and the B9006 Old Perth Road to the Fluke junction fronting Raigmore Hospital.

What do you think about the Inshes traffic situation? Email newsdesk@hnmedia.co.uk

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