Drivers warned of golf's Scottish Open traffic on A96

Castle Stuart golf clubhouse and course The Castle Stuart course on the Moray Firth only opened fully last year

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Police have urged motorists not attending a major golf event next month to avoid one of the busiest commuter routes in the Highlands.

The Barclays Scottish Open takes place at the Castle Stuart links, near Inverness, from 7 to 10 July.

Police and the event's organisers hope a traffic management plan will ease congestion.

But Northern Constabulary said delays were expected and urged travellers to avoid the nearby A96.

Heavy traffic has been forecast for the road linking Inverness and Aberdeen in the days before and after the tournament, as well as during the event itself.

Police said about 20,000 people were expected to attend on each day of the Scottish Open.

Sgt Jim Pryde, of Northern Constabulary's road policing unit, said: "There is no doubt that there will be delays, particularly on the final day after the event.

"The organisers have devised a traffic management plan, following weeks of meetings with police and partner agencies, which is designed to reduce congestion on the A96.

"However, we would urge any motorists who are not attending the golf to take an alternative route and avoid the A96 between 7 and 11 July."

Lee Westwood is among the golfers expected to compete Lee Westwood is among the golfers expected to compete

Sgt Pryde urged golf fans to use a shuttle bus service from Inverness city centre, or to share cars and taxis.

Highland Council and local businesses have welcomed the hosting of the Scottish Open in the Highlands.

The event has the potential to attract tens of thousands of spectators and be watched by a TV audience of millions.

Castle Stuart's links course on the Moray Firth only opened fully in 2010.

The open has previously been played at Loch Lomond.

Golfers expected to compete include Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Ernie Els.

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