A96 Dualling plans start to take shape
Transport Minister Keith Brown today set out how the A96 dualling programme will be driven forward.
The outline strategy identifies packages of design and development work to be progressed over the next few years with the objective of completing the full dualling between Inverness and Aberdeen by 2030. This includes taking forward:
- preliminary engineering and strategic environmental assessment work along the A96 corridor
- ongoing design work between Inshes and Nairn, including a Nairn Bypass
- assessment of possible options for bypasses in the following towns – Forres, Elgin, Keith and Inverurie
Mr Brown said:
“Our plans to dual the A96 by 2030 will deliver around 86 miles of improvements between the cities of Inverness and Aberdeen.
“Dualling this important road is a significant undertaking which will require careful in-depth planning and design. This will ensure we deliver the right scheme to help tackle congestion while providing better journey time reliability and road safety for all users.
“To help us develop our plans, a significant amount of preliminary assessment, initial survey work and consultation will be carried out. Although our plans for dualling the A96 are less advanced than the A9, we are committed to investing in this strategically important route.
“Our work now is therefore the first, but no less important, step in developing a robust plan to improve connectivity between Scotland’s two northernmost cities, with the objective of completing full dualling by 2030.”
Transport Scotland is also currently progressing route option assessment work on the section between Smithton and Nairn and related work on a Nairn Bypass. This work is being informed by the feedback from the consultation held in 2012 as we consider how best to address the future needs of the road links from Inverness to Nairn.
Environmental walkover surveys will shortly be undertaken along the route, with further public consultation later this year. This work will help set out a preferred option for this particular section, including a Nairn Bypass, by 2014.
As the A96 bisects a number of communities, dualling the road will require bypasses around Forres, Elgin, Keith and Inverurie. Following the completion of the initial design work in about 12-18 months’ time, detailed route options will be progressed and preferred routes for these bypasses identified at the earliest opportunity.
All this work will include a rolling programme of regular engagement with local communities and other stakeholders, starting later this year .This will ensure the businesses and individuals affected by the work are kept fully informed and their important feedback is taken into account as we design, procure and construct.