Construction underway at Conon Bridge
Network Rail has begun work on the new station at Conon Bridge.
The station and car park, which will be completed by early February next year, is being delivered by Network Rail and ScotRail in alliance with Transport Scotland, HITRANS and The Highland Council.
The new facility will be open in time to help mitigate the impact of the closure of the Kessock Road Bridge from February 2013.
The project will include the construction of a new 15 metre platform, a waiting shelter, passenger information systems and cycle racks and lockers at the station by Network Rail and ScotRail, while The Highland Council will construct the car park and enhance the road access and street lighting at the station.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “Inverness is the economic heart of the Highlands and Islands and an efficient route into the city for commuters is vital. In order to ease congestion, both during the essential Kessock Bridge repairs and beyond, we are encouraging motorists to look at alternative means of travel.
“Additional capacity is being provided on train services during the works and the re-opening of Conon Bridge station will make it easier for people to access these. With £1.8 million being invested in measures to ease congestion during these works, the message is very much that Inverness remains open for business.”
David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said: “Rail travel continues to grow in popularity across Scotland and we are pleased to be reconnecting the community in Conon Bridge to the rail network.
“We understand how keenly the reopening of this station has been anticipated, and the important role it will play in helping provide travel alternatives during the Kessock Bridge works, and our engineers will work as quickly as possible to deliver this new facility.“
Located between Muir of Ord and Dingwall on the Far North rail line, the reopening of the station will re-establish rail access for the local community after a gap of more than five decades.
Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail, said: “Not only is the re-opening of the station vital to lessen the impact of the Kessock Bridge works, it will also give locals in Conon Bridge and the surrounding area more opportunity to travel by train in the future.”
Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Drew Hendry, added: “Rail is playing an increasingly important role for commuters travelling to Inverness and is a key component of sustainable travel as we move forward into the future. Network Rail is to be congratulated on the reopening of Conon Bridge railway station with assistance from The Highland Council and Scottish Government. This is a big step forward for the Conon catchment residents and will be of significant help in mitigating the effect of reduced capacity on the road network with the forthcoming works on the Kessock Bridge.”
Conon station before work commenced.
Site of the former Conon Station
© Copyright Richard Dorrell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Opportunities for local contractors to renew existing applications or apply for construction works with Highland Council. The Highland Council is currently in the process of renewing and reviewing its Contractors Framework agreement, which may be used by Services within the Council for selecting contractors to carry out construction works covering reactive day to day repairs, general maintenance works and minor projects up to the value of £50,000.
The Highland Council is being asked next week to freeze the Council Tax for a seventh successive year and confirm a budget of £563.697 million for 2014-15. The Council Tax bands would remain: Band A: £775.33; Band B: £904.56; Band C: £1,033.78; Band D: £1,163.00; Band E: £1,421.44; Band F: £1,679.89; Band G: £1,938.33; Band H: £2,326.00.
Detailed proposals to realign The Highland Council’s Service management teams into 5 directorates will be presented for approval to the full council meeting on Thursday (19 December). At its last meeting on 24 October, the Council agreed to reduce the number of Services from seven to five, delivering savings of £350,000 per year.
The highland Council has received a copy of the Follow Up statutory report on Caithness Heat and Power prepared by Audit Scotland. This Follow Up statutory report is being considered by the Accounts Commission at its meeting on 12th December 2013.
The Highland Council is fully backing plans by the Scottish Government to increase fixed penalties for littering and fly-tipping but wants to see more robust action taken against contractors who try to avoid landfill costs by dumping materials indiscriminately. It agrees that the penalty for littering should rise to £80 and the penalty for fly-tipping should increase to £200, penalties which are due to take effect from 1 April, next year.
Trading Standards Officers at The Highland Council are reminding businesses to be wary of making donations to telephone cold-callers looking for contributions to seemingly good causes. Reports have come in of Highland businesses being targeted by publishing firms seeking payments for educational publications in return for the business being named as a contributor.
The Highland Council’s snow clearing / gritting route policies and area maps are online for 2013/14 at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting. Road condition and gritting treatment reports by The Highland Council’s, Transport, Environmental and Community Services for Thursday 5 December 2013 are as follows: Caithness, South Sutherland and East Ross U2126 Oykel Bailley Bridge Road closed due to flooding.
The Highland Council and Police Scotland are to work together to ensure parking management is maintained in the Highlands when the traffic warden service – currently provided by the police - ends. Police Scotland have given notice of the completion of their phased withdrawal from the service from 3 February, next year.
Today (5 December 2013) 56 schools, 7 Service Points and council offices were closed due to lack of power, bad weather or loss of water. There were issues with the Council’s website and school closures online which are being investigated.
Currently firms are contacting businesses asking for support for an educational programme on cyber bullying. The line is that councils have cut back on their funding and they can offer help to classes in your local school if you donate to the programme.
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