A96 East of Huntly to Aberdeen

Overview

Part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to dualling the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen, this section involves dualling the A96 between east of Huntly and Aberdeen (the eastern section of the A96 Dualling Programme).

Background

The intention to fully dual the A96 was announced in December 2011, when Scottish Ministers published their Infrastructure Investment Plan, which contained the commitment to dual the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen, thus completing the dual carriageway network between all Scottish cities.

Transport Scotland has completed preliminary assessment work on the dualling programme between east of Nairn and Aberdeen. The programme for the next stage of design (i.e. DMRB Stage 2 route options assessment) for east of Nairn to Aberdeen is to be split into three sections (western, central and eastern sections) in addition to the Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) section which is at a more advanced stage of development.

In July 2017 Transport Scotland awarded a contract to AmeyArup to carry out route options assessment and detailed design work for dualling the eastern section of the A96 between east of Huntly and Aberdeen. It is expected that the route options assessment work will take approximately 2 years to complete.

Community engagement

Preferred option exhibition - December 2020

Transport Scotland has been progressing options assessment work for the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme.

Following the initial route options public exhibitions in October 2018, we held further engagement events in May 2019 which presented the remaining options being taken forward to the next stage of design. In October 2020, a design update taking account of feedback received at these earlier events was circulated to interested parties and made available on the project website.

The purpose of this consultation event is to present the preferred option that has been selected following detailed assessment and which will be taken forward for further design development.

We had planned to hold a public exhibition to announce the preferred option for the scheme, however as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic we are not currently able to hold face to face public exhibitions. We are therefore running a virtual exhibition with a feedback period running from 21 December 2020 to 8 March 2021.

Design updates - October 2020

Following the initial route options public exhibitions in October 2018, engagement events were held in May 2019 to present the remaining options being taken forward for further development and assessment, to identify a preferred option.

Transport Scotland and their consultants, AmeyArup, considered all feedback received as part of the options assessment process and responded to individual feedback from members of the public and other stakeholders following the May 2019 drop-in sessions. A frequently asked questions, giving answers to the most common issues raised.

Design development was carried out considering engineering, traffic, economic and environmental factors, as well as the vital feedback we received from stakeholders and members of the public through the engagement events. This led to some changes to the junction proposals which were presented previously.

As part of the initial development and assessment of the route options, the option for online dualling through Inverurie had been deselected. Following some queries raised after the October 2018 events, additional information on the challenges associated with online dualling through Inverurie to D2APc (formerly Category 7A) standard was then presented at the drop-in sessions in May 2019. Following these events further comments were received in support of online dualling through Inverurie.

As part of the consideration of this feedback, a supplementary study involving investigating varying standards of online dualling through Inverurie has been undertaken to determine the impacts and performance in relation to the scheme objectives. This work also identifies to what extent reduction in standards would lessen the respective impacts and associated challenges of constructing online dualling through Inverurie. This study concluded that online dualling performed poorly against a number of the scheme objectives and was not taken forward through the DMRB Stage 2 assessment process.

Drop-in Sessions May 2019

Drop-in sessions were held from 28 May to 31 May 2019, in order to update local communities and road users on the ongoing design work for dualling the 26 mile section of the A96 between East of Huntly and Aberdeen.

Following options exhibitions in October 2018, the number of options were reduced and local residents were given a chance to see and comment on the proposals being taken forward as we looked to identify a preferred option.

Multidisciplinary comparative assessments were carried out, comparing two options at a time, where they performed the same function. In each case, the better performing option was identified, and the poorer performing option was deselected. The remaining better performing options were presented to the public at the engagement events held in May 2019. 

Public Exhibitions October 2018

As part of our ongoing community engagement for the scheme, public exhibitions were held from 8 October to 11 October 2018 in Inverurie, Huntly and Blackburn. These exhibitions allowed the local community and road users to view and comment upon the initial route options that have been developed for the East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme following the earlier preliminary engineering and strategic environmental assessment work.

We’ve responded to feedback from members of the public and other stakeholders following the October 2018 public exhibitions, and published some frequently asked questions, giving answers to the most common issues raised.

The design team considered the complexity and extent of the engineering works, the environmental impacts and the traffic and economic benefits associated with initial route options. Through this detailed appraisal, better performing route options were shortlisted and the other options were deselected because of their poor performance. The better performing options were presented to the public at the exhibitions held in October 2018.

As part of the initial development and assessment of the route options, an Online at Inverurie - Dualling Feasibility and Appraisal report was also prepared. The report records the work carried out to investigate the viability of an online A96 dualling option between Inveramsay Bridge and Thainstone and records the decision to deselect online dualling at Inverurie as an option for the A96 East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme.

Meet the team events - November 2017

As part of our ongoing rolling programme of community engagement on the A96 Dualling, three 'Meet the Team' events were held on the East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme (i.e. the eastern section) in November 2017 to provide an opportunity for the public to meet representatives from our A96 Dualling team and design consultants, Amey Arup.