Highlands & Islands

Bridge among options for new West Link in Inverness

River Ness at Holm Mill
Image caption The £67.8m bridge would span the River Ness and Caledonian Canal

A new high-level bridge crossing the River Ness and Caledonian Canal is among three options being considered for a controversial road in Inverness.

Highland Council said the West Link was needed to ease congestion in the city centre and link up the Southern Distributor Road to the A82.

A cross-party working group has whittled eight options for the route down to three.

One of the ideas thrown out was tunnelling under the canal.

The estimated cost of the bridge option is £67.8m.

Plans for the West Link have been controversial.

Title deeds of land which could be crossed by the road are to be re-examined by Highland Council.

This followed suggestions that land at the Bught could be common good land.

Common good campaigner Andy Wightman said in December that BBC research of the title deeds suggested the area should have that status.

Earlier this month, chief secretary to the Treasury and local MP Danny Alexander clashed with Scottish transport minister Keith Brown over funding of the West Link.

Mr Alexander said the Scottish government should provide Highland Council with money to help widen the local authority's options for the road.

But Mr Brown said the UK government had cut Scotland's capital budget by 30%.

He described Mr Alexander's suggestion as "nonsense" given the reduction in funding.

Highland Council's working group will meet again on 17 February before making a recommendation on its preferred option, or options, to the full council meeting on 1 March.

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