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Saturday, December 2, 2023

New Bus and Emergency Service Vehicle-Only Connection Proposed Between Raigmore Hospital and Raigmore Estate

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Public invited to attend drop-in information session October 4th

A public information event has been organised to take place at Raigmore Community Centre, October 4th from 1pm to 7pm, regarding a proposed new bus and emergency service vehicle-only connection between Raigmore Hospital and Raigmore Estate.

NHS Highland intends to submit a planning application seeking permission to construct a new barrier-controlled bus and emergency service vehicle-only connection from Raigmore Hospital onto the public road network at Ashton Road, Raigmore Estate.

This event, which will involve representatives from NHS Highland, The Highland Council and Stagecoach, will be an opportunity for members of the public to find out more about the proposal and its anticipated benefits.

Visuals will also be on display showing the proposed route of this new connection.

Speaking about the event, Alan Wilson, NHS Highland Director of Estates, Facilities and Capital Planning, said:

“As we look forward to opening the Orthopaedic and Ophthalmology Elective Care Centre at Inverness Campus next year, which will provide innovative ophthalmology and orthopaedic healthcare to the people of the north of Scotland, the delivery of a bus and emergency service vehicle-only connection between Raigmore Hospital and Raigmore Estate is an essential part of this project.

“A planning condition for building the Orthopaedic and Ophthalmology Elective Care Centre is that we also provide a bus priority and active travel corridor connecting the Raigmore Estate and Old Perth Road.

“The event on October 4th will explain how we plan to deliver this much-needed infrastructure which will prioritise buses through the Inshes and Raigmore area of Inverness, widely recognised as one of the most congested areas of the city. 

“Most importantly, it will greatly improve the bus services for residents of Inverness and across the Highlands who need to access NHS Highland services located at Raigmore Hospital and Inverness Campus.

“This connection will mean that at peak times there is a bus every 15 minutes in each direction available using this route.”

The proposed new bus and emergency service vehicle-only connection will be funded by Transport Scotland through the Bus Partnership Fund, a collaboration between The Highland Council, NHS Highland, HITRANS, Stagecoach and Shiel Buses.

Transport Scotland has awarded the Bus Partnership Fund £2.71 million to investigate the best ways to prioritise buses through congested parts of the Inverness and Fort William network. 

This specific project connecting Raigmore Hospital and Raigmore Estate is regarded as a strategically important element to link to the wider bus priority network in Inverness which includes Inverness Campus Bus Only North Bridge, Inverness Campus Bus Lane to Culloden Road and Millburn Road to Raigmore Estate.

This application from NHS Highland represents the first in a series of opportunities for the region to dramatically improve the transport network by improving the journey time and reliability of buses.

The need to improve public transport infrastructure is also critical to address the Climate and Ecological Emergency declared by The Highland Council in 2019, as Malcolm Macleod, Executive Chief Officer Infrastructure, Environment and Economy at The Highland Council, explained:

“It is acknowledged both by the Scottish Government and by The Highland Council that in order to tackle climate change objectives, better public transport provision and active travel infrastructure is required to change behaviour and encourage people to leave the car behind.

“This proposal for a new connection at Raigmore is part of the vision of the overall transport strategy for Inner Moray Firth to prioritise buses on the network, particularly at known congestion points, in this case the Inshes and Raigmore area of the city.

“This application, combined with Stagecoach’s plan for Inverness to become the first city in Scotland to have a city network operated entirely by electric vehicles, means that residents of Inverness and the Highlands who need to access vital public services such as the NHS, will be able to do so more easily and more sustainably.”

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