Perth’s Motor Mile will be radically transformed into a top destination for walkers and cyclists.
Council chiefs have secured more than £6 million of Sustrans cash to dramatically redesign Dunkeld Road, one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares.
The entire 1.2 mile stretch, from the Balhousie roundabout to the edge of the A9, will be upgraded with sections of the dual carriageway made into a “fully segregated cycle lane”.
Transport secretary Michael Matheson was in the Fair City on Wednesday morning to announce that the local authority had won a share of £60 million as part of Sustrans and Transport Scotland’s flagship Places For Everyone programme.
Speaking at the launch of the new National Transport Strategy for Scotland at the AK Bell Library, he said designs for Dunkeld Road were among the most ambitious he had seen.
Angus Council will also receive nearly £7 million to transform the A92 in Arbroath.
Perth’s £6.45m project aims to make it safer for children walking to a planned new primary school at North Muirton, while improving links between Bertha Park, Inveralmond and the city centre.
A new bridge will be created to connect to an existing cycle network.
Concerns have already been raised about the project by sight-loss charities who had complained about accessibility problems at a new “shared space” zone in the city’s Mill Street.
Council leader Murray Lyle pledged that all members of the community will get the chance to help shape the project before a planning application is submitted.
“This is very exciting for Perth,” he said.
“This funding will go towards facilitating a major change for Dunkeld Road that will benefit not only walking and cycling, but also the community, as we aim to improve air quality.
“Our plans for improving sustainable and active travel in the city are ambitious, and as with everything you have to start somewhere.
“The Dunkeld Road plan is a perfect place to begin our transformation of Perth into a more accessible place to be, to travel to and to get about.”
He added: “We are thrilled that Sustrans support this project and look forward to working with them to delivering it for Perth.”
It is thought the project is the first part of an ambitious new network of walking and cycling routes across Perth, with about £20 million of further work plans at places including Bridgend and Glasgow Road.
Mr Matheson said: “I would like to congratulate all of those awarded funding through Places for Everyone and look forward to the new infrastructure being put in place across the country.”
Grace Martin, director at Sustrans Scotland added: “We are extremely excited and encouraged by the projects chose to receive funding this year and we look forward to working in partnership with Perth and Kinross to help make Perth more accessible.”
A further £46.5 million was announced for three projects in Glasgow and Edinburgh.