Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A Bridge To The Far Side Of Inverness

Green Dad Picture Exclusive!

As this startling image reveals, Highland Council's 'consultation' on how to cross the River Ness and Caledonian Canal is a sham. Clearly work has already begun.

Oh, er. It's a weir. Probably been there for ages as well.

Anyway, will you be expressing a preference for one of these five options? They all seem pretty similar to me - and equally baffling.

Why can't the Southern Distributor Road (or Trunk Link Route as its seems to have become) just go straight across from the Dores Road roundabout and connect with the A82 at the entrance to Craig Dunain and the Crematorium/Cemetery? Why all the faffing about going through rugby pitches and Whin Park?

Some of the press coverage of this now-legendary dream of a crossing has talked of easing congestion. Is that really what's driving (pardon the pun) this? Getting HGVs away from the city centre makes sense but if it's more general traffic management surely any bridge should be accompanied with some measures to encourage Invernessians to get around their wee city using public transport or - dare I suggest it - by walking or cycling.

As it stands the SDR/TLR has generous paths at the side so cycling along it isn't an issue, although there are a billion (slight exaggeration) roundabouts so no sooner have you built up a bit of speed than you have to look behind you, slow down, go up and down a few kerbs and resume. Blimey... Cyclists! We want the moon on a stick we do!

I look forward in just a few years to being able to cycle right round Inverness, all the way from Tesco at the Retail Park to Tesco at Holm Mills, pausing along the way to admire the Tesco at Inshes and the Asda at Slackbuie. Maybe Inverness should copy Edinburgh and get trams. They could call it the Trolley Bus because every stop would be a supermarket.

I do hope whatever crossing is built over the river and canal that it looks good. I'm unhealthily obsessed with the majesty of the Kylesku Bridge. It shows you can have form and function. Inverness is a city of bridges and this new crossing could be a real asset in one of the last remaining chunks of green space.

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