Turf cutting ceremony marks the start of West Link Stage 1
A turf cutting ceremony was held on 10 May 2016 to mark the start of Stage 1 of the West Link which will provide the link between the southern distributor and the A82, including the Canal Parks Enhancement works. Stage 1 of the project is due for completion in late 2017.
Leader of the Council, Provost of Inverness and Chair of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee and local members were joined by representatives from the Highland Rugby Football Club, Scottish Rugby Union, the Civic Trust, sportscotland, contractors Wills Bros, and local elected members. Pupils from Holm and Kinmylies Primary Schools on either side of the River Ness, were also present to celebrate this landmark occasion.
The initial works on Stage 1 will commence on the A82 Glenurquhart Road at its junction with Bught Drive. The new River Ness Bridge construction involving works in the river will take place on two occasions during the periods July 2016 to October 2016 and July 2017 to October 2017, with completion in late 2017.
In order to allow for the construction of the new Clubhouse and artificial pitch at the Canal Parks the Highland Rugby Club, over the summer of 2017, will relocate to the Inverness High School playing field and changing rooms.
The scheme will provide construction jobs and will enable further housing development and the revenue this will bring to the region. Developer contributions of £3.75 million are anticipated to be received following the development of land for housing.
The West Link will reduce traffic congestion in the city centre, improve journey times and support active travel through new cycling and walking routes.
The West Link forms part of the Council’s contribution to the City-Region Deal investment by partners, which was agreed in March 2016.
Chair of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Audrey Sinclair said: “This marks a major milestone in the project today and I am delighted to see the work starting. The West Link is a major contribution by the Council to the City Region Deal and the benefits will be felt much wider than Inverness, with easier links and improved journey times for those coming from and going to Lochaber and other areas in the west. The economic return of £4 for every £1 spent on building the road will benefit the whole region.”
Leader of the Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson said: “It is really good to see this section of the work get underway and it is exciting to think we will have a connection across the river by the end of next year. The West Link will deliver significant economic benefits to the city and surrounding area, reducing congestion and providing construction jobs and housing development.”
Provost Helen Carmichael added: “I look forward to the reduced congestion that this road will bring to the city centre. I am also delighted for the children from Holm Primary and Kinmylies Primary Schools here today that they and many other will benefit from this new connection between our communities either side of the river.”
Andy Little Chairman of Highland Rugby Club commented: “The Commencement of the West Link and the redevelopment of Canal Park will provide a long overdue link over the river and canal and the enhanced sporting facilities at Canal Park will provide excellent facilities for our sport and for the wider sporting community in Inverness and the wider Highland Region.”
Highland Rugby Club have recently benefitted from Scottish Rugby’s second round of investment from the Club Sustainability Fund.
Highland have received £40,000 from the fund, which provides investment to rugby clubs to develop their facilities and improve the playing and training environments for their players and members.