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Route plans unveiled for A96 dualling

By David Porter

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A virtual exhibition which shows the the preferred option for the section of the A96 to be dualled between East of Huntly and Aberdeen has gone live.

Local communities and road users are now being encouraged to take time to view the preferred route option which will be available for comment for eight weeks.

The orange route around Inverurie
The orange route around Inverurie

Based on the previous options appraisal, the preferred option consists of the Cyan route option between East of Huntly and Colpy, the Pink route option between Colpy and Pitcaple and the Orange route option between Pitcaple and Kintore.

The proposed dual carriageway is over 22 miles long and includes six grade-separated junctions, new crossings of the Rivers Urie and Don and a crossing of the Aberdeen to Inverness railway line.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “We are continuing to progress our ambitious plans to dual the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen, delivering around 88 miles of upgraded road.

“As part of that programme, we have been taking forward the route option assessment work for the section of the A96 to be dualled between East of Huntly and Aberdeen and we are now able to let the public see the preferred option for this scheme.

“Following detailed assessment work and consideration of feedback received throughout the design development process, we have identified a preferred option which will include improved journey time and reliability for all trunk road traffic, improve road safety and provide opportunities for active travel.

“It will also provide better transport connections to Aberdeen City and between communities in Aberdeenshire as well as the wider strategic transport network.

“We are keen to let locals and road users have their say on our proposals and I would encourage anyone interested in our plans to view the virtual exhibition and give us their views.

“As we develop the preferred option in greater detail, individuals, communities and businesses affected by the work will be kept fully informed and their vital feedback taken into account.”

The cyan route at Glens of Foundland
The cyan route at Glens of Foundland

MP for Gordon, Richard Thomson said: “I welcome the publishing of the preferred route and the progress it represents with this key infrastructure project for the North of Scotland.

“With the virtual public exhibition now live for eight weeks, I’d urge constituents to take time to study the plans and to make sure that they provide their feedback to Transport Scotland.

“I know that many people will be disappointed at the rejection of a route to the north of Inverurie given the potential benefits it could have brought to alleviating pressures on the A947.

"The task now on that route will be to look again at the interventions outlined in the existing A947 route strategy and to try to deliver as quickly as possible on those which can make a difference to safety and journey reliability.”

The pink route to the north of Old Rayne
The pink route to the north of Old Rayne

Lorna Anderson, Chair of A96 Action who have campaigned against several of the proposed section routes said: “This decision is an enormous relief to residents and business owners along the Violet route and ends over two years of uncertainty – and campaigning.

"We fought our fact-based campaign on the grounds that the existing A96 through Inverurie could and should be upgraded, as opposed to tearing up miles of unspoiled countryside.

"Whilst we still prefer this option, we do recognise that with the addition of new and redesigned junctions the Orange Route is the least damaging bypass option, and the one which best meets the scheme objectives.

“It has been a long, tough and involved campaign, only made possible by the amazing dedication of the A96 Action group’s committee members.

"We have been so fortunate to have such highly qualified and committed people give an enormous amount of their time and expertise to our campaign.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and be ready to act should the need arise.

“Whilst we celebrate, however, we should remember that here are no winners in this process and we truly empathise with the residents along the remaining route selections.”

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