Date lodged: 4 July 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what major road and rail projects are planned for the north east to be completed (a) in the current parliamentary session and (b) after 2021.
Answered by: Humza Yousaf 19 July 2016
The Scottish Government’s proposals for the north east include a number of significant projects. Investment and delivery in future years will depend on budget availability. There is currently an approved budget for 2016-7 and budgets for future years will be determined by the spending review process.
The major road investment plans which will benefit the north east of Scotland include: the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR)/Balmedie-Tipperty Project; the £24 million new grade-separated junction at Laurencekirk as part of a package of additional investment alongside Aberdeen City Region Deal; the commitment to starting improvements to the A90/A96 Haudagain roundabout once the AWPR is completed; and the commitment to dualling of the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen.
Work is well underway on the AWPR and this will be completed within the currently parliamentary session with new roads on programme to be open to traffic in winter 2017-18. A commitment has been given to dual the A96 by 2030. Actions to progress Laurencekirk and Haudagain Roundabout are ongoing.
The rail infrastructure programme for Scotland includes a full programme of major enhancement projects, which includes the first phases of the Aberdeen to Inverness and Aberdeen to Central Belt projects. Despite recent challenges the Scottish Government expects Network Rail to deliver all of these projects within the current regulatory control period to March 2019. By 2018 ScotRail will also deliver the additional seats and new and faster services for the north east that were committed to as part of the Revolution in Rail timetable change announced by the Scottish Government in March.
A further £254 million was committed to support key infrastructure in the north east, alongside the Aberdeen City Region Deal, which includes the £200 million investment in rail to improve journey times and increase capacity on the strategic rail route to Aberdeen. This investment will be delivered over a period of up to 10 years with clear benefits over and above those that will be realised from the current rail enhancements programme.
Decisions in rail investment beyond 2019 are still to be made. By summer 2017, the Scottish Government will set out its rail investment priorities for the period of 2019 to 2024 in line with the timetable set out by the rail regulator, the Office of Rail and Road. We expect to consult with all relevant stakeholders on those priorities later in 2016.