Moves to create a dedicated bus and emergency service road route serving the Highlands’ flagship hospital will be discussed at a public information event.
The connection would run between Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and Raigmore Estate, with the aim of reducing traffic congestion in and around the hospital grounds.
Members of the public have been invited to attend a drop-in information session on Tuesday, from 1pm-7pm at Raigmore Community Centre.
NHS Highland is preparing to submit a planning application for construction of the new barrier-controlled connection which would exclude other vehicles.
It would enable buses, ambulances and other priority medical traffic to reach the public road network at Ashton Road.
Representatives from NHS Highland, Highland Council and Stagecoach will be on hand at the event to offer information and answer queries about the proposal.
Alan Wilson, NHS Highland’s director of estates facilities and capital planning, said the new route was essential for a new build project set to open at Inverness Campus next year.
He stressed: “A planning condition for building the Orthopaedic and Ophthalmology Elective Care Centre is that we also provide a bus priority and active travel corridor connecting the Raigmore Estate and Old Perth Road.
“The event on October 4 will explain how we plan to deliver this much-needed infrastructure which will prioritise buses through the Inshes and Raigmore area of Inverness, widely recognised as one of the most congested areas of the city.
“It will greatly improve the bus services for residents of Inverness and across the Highlands who need to access NHS Highland services located at Raigmore Hospital and the campus.”
Funding would come from Transport Scotland through the Bus Partnership Fund, a collaboration between Highland Council, NHS Highland, HiTrans, Stagecoach and Shiel Buses.
Transport Scotland has awarded the Bus Partnership Fund £2.71 million to investigate the best ways to prioritise buses through congested parts of Inverness and Fort William.
Malcolm Macleod, Highland Council’s executive chief officer for infrastructure, environment and economy, said the proposal was in tune with the authority’s climate change, public transport and active travel objectives.
“It is acknowledged both by the Scottish Government and by the Highland Council that in order to tackle climate change objectives, better public transport provision and active travel infrastructure is required to change behaviour and encourage people to leave the car behind,” he said.
“This proposal for a new connection at Raigmore is part of the vision of the overall transport strategy for Inner Moray Firth to prioritise buses on the network, particularly at known congestion points – in this case the Inshes and Raigmore area.”