A new walking, cycling and wheeling link from Raigmore Interchange and the Golden Bridge has been officially opened to enable a safe, traffic free option for those wishing to access Raigmore Estate, Inverness Campus and the Eastfield Way Retail Park.
This link also joins up with other active travel infrastructure to provide links with Raigmore Hospital, local employers and onwards to retail and residential areas.
The Link has been designed to provide a low gradient route, reducing the effects of the steep hill leading up to the Raigmore Community, providing a wide walking, cycling and wheeling ramp with rest areas to enable all users to enjoy.
The existing stairs which joined Raigmore Community to the interchange have been upgraded to tie into the new design, to ensure quick direct access.
The site was officially opened by elected Members, Raigmore Community Council, and the Primary 5 pupils from Raigmore Primary School nearby, who are the Junior Road Safety Officers.
They are a very important part of the primary school as they help raise road safety awareness and promote road safety issues to everyone in the school and the wider community, and the pupils have been very eager to learn about the new infrastructure which has been created in their local area.
The pupils joined Council staff on site last week to learn about the active travel infrastructure and to be part of some filming on the active travel link.
Chair of Highland Council’s Economy & Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Trish Robertson, said:
“This is the first large active travel investment in Inverness which Highland Council have delivered in partnership with our project partners and funders Sustrans, through their Spaces for People Fund.
“To have a significant, high quality investment enabling safe, direct routes for walking, wheeling and cycling will help to encourage local people to be more active for everyday journeys, while also reducing our impact on climate change.
“We celebrate the opening of this link today, but we are looking forward to the significant future investment which is planned as part of the Active Travel Network over the coming years.”
The Raigmore Active Travel Link has been funded as part of the Inverness City Active Travel Network, a £10.6M investment in key active travel routes throughout the city.
The next phases of this project involve working with Transport Scotland and Sustrans at Raigmore Interchange.
Additionally, work is beginning to look at the potential for active and bus infrastructure linking the Interchange to the city centre along Millburn Road, utilising active travel and Bus Partnership Funding.
Consultation and engagement on these future phases will take place during 2022.
Maelle Ducreux, Infrastructure Coordinator for Sustrans, said:
“The new Raigmore Active Travel Link will have an immediate positive impact on people walking, wheeling, and cycling between the Campus, Raigmore Estate and Inverness City Centre.
“These benefits will be felt further when improvements planned for Raigmore Interchange and Millburn Corridor are implemented.
“The development has also provided the opportunity to reinstate native tree species along the embankment which not only make the route more attractive but will provide valuable shielding from the trunk road.”
The Active Travel Link took 40 weeks to complete, and was constructed by Pat Munro, a local contractor who won the tender for this work.
Mark Smith, Contracts Manager at Pat Munro, said:
“The Raigmore Active Travel Link has been a great project to be involved in and we’re delighted it is now open to the public.
“The Raigmore community has been very understanding throughout the construction so we’d like to thank them, once again, for their patience.
“We hope the local community and others travelling by foot, bike or wheel enjoy using the travel link for many years to come.”
Munro Ross, Chair of Raigmore Community Council, said:
“This has been an exemplar project in terms of community engagement and professional work taking place in our community.
“We look forward to engaging with future projects in the local area, the bar has now been set in terms of engagement and expectations”.