Allocation of additional funding for Highland roads, bridges and flood alleviation schemes
At yesterdays (Wednesday 3 June) Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee members agreed the final allocation of capital funds for road improvements, bridges and flood prevention schemes for the next three years.
The additional funding is over and above that currently allocated for named major projects including the Westlink, Inshes Junction, Stromeferry and the Kinnairdie Link Road in Dingwall. An additional £1.588m for 2015-2018 will be used to progress land acquisition and construction consents for the three highest priority projects. These are the A890 Strathcarron to Balnacra, the A890 Balnacra to Lair and the A832 Slattadale to Kerryside.
£80k has also been allocated to allow preliminary work to begin on four other projects in 2017/18 –
- A890 Kishorn-Lochcarron-Strathcarron
- A836 Thurso – Tongue
- B810 Rhiconich – Kinlochbervie
- A884 Carnoch-Lochalione
The Committee agreed to allocate £3.16m over 3 years to the Minor Road Improvements budget which will be used to progress the following high priority minor road schemes:
- A99 Keiss to North of Keiss road widening works
- B851/B862 South Loch Ness Road Improvements
- A832 Slattadale road widening works
- B9091 Clephanton Bends, Cawdor improvements
- Repairs to the Killimster Moss Road in Caithness
- Completion of the Portree Link Road
Funds have also been allocated for design and land acquisitions in Caithness, Sutherland, Inverness, Lochaber, Skye, Ross and Cromarty, Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey to allow the council to enhance provision of developer-funded schemes in these areas.
The Highland Council is responsible for over 1,400 bridges, 700 culverts and 800 retaining walls on its road network and at the meeting today, Committee Members allocated £2.5m to be spent on improvements to 15 Lifeline Bridges over the next 3 financial years. The Committee also noted Major Bridges needs for future years. Capital funding for the A862 Muir of Ord Railway Bridge and B970 Ruthven Bridge has been committed and construction will start in 2015/16.
Members also examined proposals for the capital allocation for Major Flood Prevention Schemes, flood mitigation work in vulnerable areas and minor flood schemes and agreed how £7.5m will be shared amongst these funding streams over the next three years. Flood prevention work at Caol, Smithton and Culloden and the River Enrick, Drumnadrochit has been prioritised for early delivery. Delivery of Flood Alleviation Measures and priorities are being guided by the Flood Risk Management Process with close working between SEPA and Highland Council.
Chair of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Thomas Prag said: “Trying to allocate limited resources to fund vital investment of our roads, structures and flood defences is a tricky balance of priorities to make effective use of our money. This involves looking at a number of important factors including safety, economic benefit, value for money, social needs and the need of local communities.
“The additional capital works investment agreed by the committee is expected to result in significant economic benefits and largely covers the more rural areas of the Highlands which will benefit local economies and communities. There is never going to be enough money to do all the work we want to but the important thing is that we get on with those we can and invest in the design and planning for other projects so that they are ready to go when funds allow.”