THE fruition of a controversial Inverness bypass took another major step forward today.
Highland Councillors have approved the final lay out drawings and authorised the submission of a planning application for the West Link road.
New figures presented to the full council showed the estimated bill now stands at £34.4million, up from the 2011 price of £27.2million.
There is also an additional £9.5million to be found for new sports facilities as the route will be wiping out existing sport land.
The West Link will be a new transport link from the Southern Distributor Road at Dores Road to the A82 trunk road at Torvean via a fixed link across the River Ness and the Caledonian Canal.
There has been a public campagin against the option, with many seeking a tunnel, now costing around £86.3million, or a high level bridge from Dores roundabout, costing £77.5million.
But councillors have decided to forge ahead with the original decision.
Council Leader Drew Hendry said: “I am delighted that we are making excellent progress with this key project and that we are on target to start work during 2015.
“The benefits for the city and the wider Highlands of a better road system to the west of the city which open up recreational and development opportunities are significant and too great to miss.”
Compulsory purchase order
The Council also agreed to make a compulsory purchase order to acquire all of the land required for the route and senior officials have been authorised to advertise the order and take all necessary steps to obtain title to the land.
Negotiations or any claims for compensation and costs payable to owners, lessees and occupiers of the land required for the road will be undertaken by the District Valuer.
At today’s meeting of the Council, Members were advised that the planning application and the CPO notice will be advertised towards the end of this month.
They were also informed that the works will require to be carefully phased to ensure that all businesses and sporting activities can continue to operate throughout the period of road construction.
The road will be built in two phases. Phase one will be from Dores Road Roundabout to Glenurquhart Road, including the new crossing of the River Ness. It is still on programme and on schedule to commence construction in 2015.
Phase two will see the crossing of the Caledonian Canal, including the tandem bridge arrangements at Torvean.
The rise in price includes inflation, but also an enhancement of the design to include additional features for cyclists and walkers following consultation with the public.
Mr Hendry revealed that he has had talks with Inverness Caledonian Thistle regarding their possible use of the sports hub, which he sees as having the potential to be used by a wide range of sporting clubs, attracting significant external funding, and become one of the top sporting venues in Scotland.