Nearing the facts on the West Link

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll be aware of a couple of posts I wrote a while back on the issue of the completion of the Inverness west link.  I’ll not bore you with the full details here (the posts themselves should be an adequate backstory), but just want to quickly summarise things here.

  1. The most popular option, a bridge across the Ness and Caledonian Canal to link the A82 with the Southern Distributor, was rejected by the council in favour of a route that went through Canal Park.
  2. The high-level bridge was costed at £67m (and was known as option 7) and the option chosen was costed at £27m (known as option 6).
  3. I noticed that option 7 included extra work at Tomnahurich bridge that didn’t seem essential to the completion of the link, so I wanted to know how much lower the £67m could be if it wasn’t for that extra work at Tomnahurich.
  4. I also noticed that option 6 was announced alongside new funding for sports facilities at Canal Park; partly to compensate for the road ploughing through it and partly to take the opportunity to develop things further.  I wanted to know how much extra this money was, and therefore how much higher than £27m option 6 actually would be.
  5. I wrote to my four councillors and the city provost with these questions, and disgracefully I received a (fairly incomplete) response from only one of them.
  6. I also wrote to my MSP to ask for his input.

Thankfully, my MSP (with some chasing) managed to get the full and comprehensive answer I was looking for.  Almost, anyway. Through him, a council official sent a very helpful response (I’ll happily upload it if anyone wants) that included a lot of good information, not least the fact that actually many cars travelling north into Inverness did not actually want to bypass the entire city; just avoid the congested city centre.  Fair enough.  That’s new information that it would have been good to know, and presumably would have been easy to supply.

The letter didn’t, however, supply the figures I wanted to answer the questions I outline in points 3 and 4 above.  So I wrote back to the official who is away for a few weeks (as am I).  I’ll blog again later in the summer once I hear back.

Of course, keen watchers of local matters in Inverness will be aware that there was an entirely different model being advocated all along – that of a tunnel.  It seems to have merit yet to have not received any serious consideration by the council.  This is worrying and represents a pretty poor approach by the council.  Though it’s good to know that, according to the local rag, this will now be looked again, at least briefly.  And that article notes what I fear, that the £27m v £67m may not have been the true comparison after all.

The saga continues…

2 thoughts on “Nearing the facts on the West Link

  1. Hi Simon, the figure being banded about for the replacement sports facilities is 10 million, which makes the option 6 now 37.4 million! The best effort on the tandem swing bridge is about 15 million so the bridge was inflated by that figure to ensure it was less desirable. The bridge was also an over the top design apparently, all in all 37 v 52 is not as bad, however none of them can compete with the estimated 25 million for the cut and fill tunnel idea, which is on the table now.

    The problem with the tunnel is it does not help the developers develop the land on the south bank as easy due to the cut going down to the tunnel. So there is big business opposition to this, all smells a bit rotten really.

  2. Thanks for that Alec. Yes, 27 v 52 is an entirely different ballgame, so councillors really have been led astray (or have wilfully ignored real facts). It will be interesting to find out if these figures are matched by the council’s response.

    Good to hear the tunnel is on the table now. Fingers crossed.

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