Page last updated at 01:59 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 02:59 UK

Anger and confusion over street

Ness Walk
Ness Walk is being revamped at a cost of 200,000

The new layout of a city street has come under fire after it reopened to traffic before the £200,000 project to improve it had been completed.

Local businesses said Ness Walk in Inverness now gives the impression of being pedestrian-only, but vehicles have one-way access to it.

The revamped stretch has the pavement flush with a decorative cobbled stone section marked by granite blocks.

Highland Council said further work was still to be carried out.

Ness Walk is among a list of city streets being upgraded and improved.

The £138,000 improvement project in Brora, Sutherland, is also due to start at the end of this month with the upgrading of Fountain Square.

The shared surface concept which is being provided at Ness Walk with reduced traffic speeds of 20mph is designed to improve the pedestrian environment
Highland Council spokeswoman

Ness Walk, which was previously open to traffic travelling in both directions, is now one-way off Young Street.

This change appeared to have been missed by one cyclist seen in a series of pictures taken in the street and sent to BBC Scotland.

John Munro, who runs the Castleview Guest House, said the improvements were welcome and the work had "opened up" that part of town.

However, he wondered if traffic calming and signs warning of pedestrians or limiting the speed of traffic to 5mph to 10mph have still to be installed.

He said: "It could be dangerous, but I'm not sure if it has been completed.

"With the pavements not having a kerb dropping down to the road it could be an area where children will run around and not be aware that it is still a road."

Road markings

Fiona Blair, of the MacDonald House Hotel in Ardross Street which links on to Ness Walk, said the cobbled section was attractive but she was disappointed that it was not extended further down the street where Tarmac had been laid.

She said the job looked "half finished" and wondered if the council had either run out of money to lay more cobbles, or out of time to get the project completed before the summer tourist season.

A cyclist on Ness Walk
A cyclist goes up Ness Walk the wrong way

"I think the street has been spoiled," she said. "The cobbles do look really nice and should have been laid further down the street.

"There are people who are scared to drive up the street and stop half way up not knowing if they can go any further."

Highland Council said the streetscape works were all planned in advance and were due to be completed at the end of the month.

A spokeswoman said: "Road markings will be introduced this week and further works include the installation of bollards and street furniture all of which will provide further demarcation.

"The shared surface concept which is being provided at Ness Walk with reduced traffic speeds of 20mph is designed to improve the pedestrian environment."

In the city centre new paving and street furniture has been added to Union Street.

Remaining works in Baron Taylor's Street, Lombard Street, Inglis Street, Ness Walk and Stephens Brae are due to be completed this spring.

Speaking about the upgrade in Brora, local councillor Deirdre Mackay said: "The area around Fountain Square is currently an eyesore and, situated on the A9, does little to enhance Brora as an attractive village to visit and enjoy.

"The proposals and funding will go a long way to improving the physical area for both residents and visitors to enjoy in the future and we are really looking forward to seeing the completed project."

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