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Blackburn cycle routes decisions set for approval

By David Porter

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Councillors on the Garioch Area committee will be asked next week to approve a study into the creation of a cycle path linking Kintore and Blackburn.

Earlier this year the local authority surveyed residents on where the path between Kintore and Blackburn should go.

The first option was to create a new route for pedestrians and cyclists next to the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road, and the second was to upgrade some sections of a rural route known as the Skair Road.

About three-quarters of the 390 respondents felt the Skair Road route would best support recreational cycling but around the same number of respondents believed the route along the A96 would be better for commuting cyclists.

In a report to the committee, Stephen Archer director of infrastructure services explained that both options could potentially be taken forward.

He said: “It is recommended that council officers now explore more fully the proposal which would aim to deliver a shared use commuter route adjacent to the A96.

“With approval, design consultants would be commissioned to complete a detailed design for the route, engage landowners and Transport Scotland.

“It is estimated that the value of this commission would be £40,000.”

Mr Archer also urged councillors to agree to make improvements along the Skair Road route where the surface is “badly worn out”.

The cost of work could be up to £25,000 and would make it a more attractive proposition for cyclists.

He added: “As we move into a period where lockdown restrictions are gradually eased at the same time as public transport travel being discouraged, this is a more crucial time than ever to encourage active travel journeys rather than private vehicle use.”

The new route is part of wider efforts to increase active travel in the region, with discussions under way with Aberdeen City Council on how to link the new route with the city.

The cycle path would begin from Broomhill Roundabout, parallel on the north side of the A96 to the Marshall’s Farm shop underpass.

Cyclists or pedestrians would then use the underpass to cross the A96 to access the existing road parallel to the trunk route on the south side, and then use the bridge to cross the A96 and take the existing shared use path into Blackburn.

If completed this would also link into the route to the north, which offers a connected route next to the A96 to Port Elphinstone.

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