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Benefits from regular Ministerial meetings (18/11/10)
Regular meetings between senior Highland councillors and the Scottish Transport Infrastructure and Climate Change Minister, Stewart Stevenson, are delivering benefits for the Highlands.
This is the view of Council Leader, Michael Foxley, Chairman of the Transport Environment and Community Service Services Committee, John Laing, and the Provost of Inverness, Jimmy Gray, who have been meeting with Mr Stevenson on a quarterly basis to discuss progress on the Joint Action Plan which was developed to track progress on the outcome of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Transport Projects Review, and other key transport projects in the Highlands.
The Council delegation updated today’s meeting of the Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee on the good progress that is being made at these meetings.
Councillor Michael Foxley said: “We arranged to have a regular slot with the Minister and these meetings have now produced tangible results. It is important that the Council and the Scottish Government continues with this joint approach to trunk road improvements for the overall benefit of the Highlands. No other Council has this working relationship.”
Mr Stevenson recently announced the start of early design work to identify the routes for dualling the A96 between Inverness and Nairn, a Nairn by-pass, and a new link connecting the A96 to the A9 south of Inverness.
Upgrades to the A9, including the completion of the 2+1 overtaking lane at Moy, and the recently awarded contract to extend the dual carriageway at Crubenmore are projects which benefit the Highlands.
The Scottish Government are also working with the Council to carry out a ground investigation at the Berriedale Braes, to establish the feasibility of improving the road alignment at the north hairpin, the site of the recent accident involving a coach carrying school children from Orkney.
At the last meeting with the Minister, held on 10 November, it was agreed that officials from Transport Scotland would start to work with the Councils to develop a route master plan for the A82.
The stakeholders group, whose members include the Council, Transport Scotland, British Waterways, Historic Scotland and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, was formed to examine the options for completing the west link of the Inverness Trunk Link Road, including the crossing of the river Ness and the Caledonian Canal, has made good progress, and is close to finalising the options which will go out for public consultation.