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Highland Council capital plan update highlights increased investment in roads infrastructure and school estate

By Gregor White

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Councillor Alister MacKinnon: Investment in key infrastructure.
Councillor Alister MacKinnon: Investment in key infrastructure.

An extra £20 million is to be invested in Highland roads, councillors have been told.

Councillors were presented with a reprofiled capital programme at a full meeting of Highland Council last week.

Highland Council budget leader, Councillor Alister MacKinnon, said: “The increased capacity for spending on roads infrastructure comes as a result of the budget decisions taken in March 2020 and reflects the administration’s key priority of improving this vital infrastructure.”

The capital programme update details a £26.5 million investment in road structural capital works, £5 million investment in road surface dressing capital and a £1.9 million investment in bridges, retaining walls and culverts over the next two financial years.

Additionally significant investment is planned on the Stromeferry rock face in Lochalsh and the Inshes Roundabout in Inverness.

Over £17 million of investment is planned on the renewal of bridges including those at Invercoe, Acharn, Achnagavin, Naver and Comar.

The capital programme update also details investment across the council’s school estate.

The council has committed £94 million of funding to the construction of new schools in Tain, Broadford and Nairn as part of the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Improvement Programme, whilst over the next two years there will be a £22.8 million investment in early learning and childcare and a £12.9 million investment in the School Estate Improvement Programme.

Chairman of the council's education committee, Councillor John Finlayson, said: “Communities across Highland will be happy to hear confirmation of investment in our vast school estate and it is also encouraging to note planned investment in both rural and urban areas.

“The investment recently in projects at Merkinch and Smithton and also those planned at other schools in Inverness will clearly help the capacity issues in the city, but equally, the plans for rural schools will also be greeted with delight and anticipation in other parts of Highland.

"Add to this the successful funding bids for new schools at Broadford and Nairn is really positive news for our school estate programme.”

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