Issued by Transport Scotland
Transport Scotland has announced a £1.8 million transport package to help ease congestion around the Kessock Bridge resurfacing works next year.
A range of roads and public transport measures will be put in place between now and February, including extra seating capacity on trains and buses, additional car parking at Dingwall and Beauly stations, a dedicated bus lane and the re-opening of Conon Bridge Station.
Next week, works will start on permanently upgrading road junctions on the A9 and A82, specifically Longman and Rose Street roundabouts, Stadium Road and Henderson Road.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We are absolutely committed to minimising the disruption which these essential repairs to Kessock Bridge will cause and are confident that this combination of road improvements, increased train and bus capacity and, of course the re-opening of Conon Bridge Station, will help to do this. Key stakeholders including Highland Council, HITRANS, Network Rail, First Scotrail and Stagecoach have been heavily involved in these mitigation measures some of which will have significant long term benefits.
“Improvements to junctions on the approach to the bridge will make a difference but it is also essential that we encourage motorists out of their cars and on to public transport and the additional train and bus capacity agreed with Stagecoach and First ScotRail will allow for this.
“Additional car parking at Dingwall and Beauly stations will also give commuters the option of driving part of the way, but avoiding the worst of the congestion.
“We all have a part to play and I would encourage both individuals and employers to start thinking about what they can be doing to avoid driving into Inverness during peak times.”
Work starts on Monday 22nd October 2012, for 12 weeks, on a range of mitigation measures including the signalisation of the Longman Roundabout which also includes the construction of a dedicated left hand turn slip lane from Stadium Road to the A9 South; the signalisation of Henderson Road/Longman Road junction allowing a right hand turn from Longman Industrial Estate onto Longman Road and the part signalisation of the Rose Street Roundabout with a single set of traffic lights on the approach on the A82 heading south. To minimise any disruption all works will be carried out overnight.
Work is also due to begin within in the next few weeks on Conon Bridge Station, which will be re-opened before the Kessock Bridge repairs begin in February.
Peak-time train services to and from Inverness will be doubled in capacity (four carriages instead of two) during the works and Stagecoach is currently developing a timetable of additional bus services to and from the Black Isle.
A dedicated bus and HGV lane will be put in place on the A9 south running from Tore Roundabout to Kessock Bridge.
Transport Scotland is investing £18m to upgrade Kessock Bridge, bringing it in line with modern traffic standard requirements.
The first phase of the resurfacing work will commence in February 2013 and last until June 2013, with a second phase the following year, commencing February 2014 and lasting until June 2014.
Traffic restrictions will be in place during these times, with a reduced speed limit of 30mph on the bridge for the safety of motorists and the workforce.
Considerable delays are expected on the heavily trafficked route during these works and motorists are being encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel into the city centre and to consider using public transport. Employers are being encouraged to allow staff to adopt flexible working patterns, car pools and working from home.
The Kessock Bridge opened to traffic in 1982. It is a cable stayed bridge and carries the A9 dual carriageway trunk road across the Beauly Firth at Inverness. The traffic flow on Kessock Bridge is approximately 30,000 vehicles per day with 11% of these HGVs.
The main works will involve removing the existing road surface, repairing any defects to the bridge steel deck plate, applying waterproofing to bridge steel deck plate and resurfacing both carriageways. Contractors will also replace the bridge deck expansion joints, replace the lighting columns, replace the safety fences in the central reserve and footways and resurface the footways and cycle-ways.
Motorists driving in and around Inverness during the works can access up to the minute journey time information at www.trafficscotland.org. Further journey planning information is also available on Twitter and via the Travelline Scotland/Transport Scotland travel app.