MULTIMILLION-pound funding has been secured to transform the heart of Inverness into a cycle-friendly city.
Work on the ambitious plans, which will include a major overhaul of Millburn Road, is expected to begin in as little as two months’ time after the Inverness City Active Travel Network project won nearly £7 million in government funding yesterday.
Highland Council secured the deal, which covers half of the scheme’s projected cost, after it was one of five successful finalists in the Community Links Plus competition run by transport charity Sustrans and funded by the Scottish Government.
The five schemes, which were awarded nearly £22.5 million in total, included projects in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.
Work in Millburn Road will include the removal of one lane of traffic, which will be replaced by a fully-segregated cycle path. A westbound bus lane and footpath will also be built.
Academy Street will undergo a similar transformation, with the implementation of a one-way cycle track with buffer zones off the main carriageway behind the parking and loading areas.
And a ramp will be created from the Raigmore Interchange to the Golden Bridge, which carries pedestrians and cyclists over the A9 on to the Inverness Campus.
The whole project is expected to be completed by summer 2020.
Announcing the grant awards, transport minister Humza Yousaf said: "Our ambitious Active Nation initiative is designed to encourage many more of us to make everyday and leisure journeys sustainably – on foot and by bike. To achieve this vision, we are doubling our investment in active travel, from £40 million to £80 million each year, demonstrating our commitment to make our towns and cities more walking and cycling friendly.
"Through the Community Links Plus award, people will be able to enjoy new active travel routes and whether it is for commuting or leisure, more people will be able to enjoy the benefits of greener and healthier modes of transport."