Page last updated at 07:37 GMT, Monday, 29 June 2009 08:37 UK

Revamp of city streets completed

Ness Walk
Ness Walk was revamped at a cost of 200,000

A ceremony is to be held marking the completion of a £6m Streetscape project revamping Inverness city centre.

Several streets feature Caithness flagstone, granite cubes, new lighting and artworks.

Church Street now has the so-called Three Virtues, large stone ramps with trees bursting up through them.

Contractors faced some problems while digging up the streets - including uncovering pipes, cables and basements not marked on maps or records.

There were also challenges in diverting traffic from key thoroughfares to allow for construction work, which has been ongoing since January 2007.

Papier-mache underwear

Artists were heavily involved in the scheme, both in designing "street furniture" and in efforts to encourage the public to take a greater interest in the refurbishment.

One project looking at the regeneration of Inverness Old Town led to the rediscovery of the history of the town's Victorian Market.

Its past includes a story of canine loyalty to rival Edinburgh's famous Greyfriars Bobby when a dog guarding its master's stall refused to leave it as the market burned down in 1889.

Among the more unusual bids to raise the revamp's profile was an exhibition called Inverness is Pants in 2006, which asked people to write their thoughts about the city on papier-mache underwear.

Streetscape has been controversial, with the new layout of Ness Walk coming under fire in May after it reopened to traffic before the revamp had been completed.

Local businesses said at the time that it gave 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.

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

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