Date lodged: 21 November 2016
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on plans to dual the A96 between Aberdeen and Inverness.
Answered by: Keith Brown 30 November 2016
The Scottish Government is committed to dualling the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen by 2030. This significant undertaking requires careful, in-depth planning and design so we deliver the right scheme and help tackle congestion, make journey times more reliable and, crucially, improve road safety for all along the route.
Transport Scotland has completed packages of preliminary engineering and strategic environmental assessment work along the route between east of Nairn and Aberdeen and presented the outcome of this work at a series of exhibitions in 2015. This is the first step in developing a robust plan to improve connectivity along the whole route.
The next stage of design, which is the route options assessment, for the Western Section between Hardmuir and Fochabers commenced earlier this year. This work is expected to take approximately two years to complete. Route options assessment on the Eastern Section between east of Huntly and Aberdeen is planned to start following the procurement of design consultants early next year with the Central Section between east of Fochabers and east of Huntly to follow in 2019.
Transport Scotland has also completed the development and assessment of the preferred option for the 31km Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) section and published draft Orders for the scheme on 29 November 2016 for formal comment. Progress on the scheme will depend on the level and nature of comments and/or objections received to the publication of draft Orders.
The overall timetable for the dualling programme is set by the Scottish Government’s commitment to complete the dualling between Inverness and Aberdeen by 2030. The phasing for individual elements will take shape during the future stages of design and development work being progressed.
Further details on the A96 Dualling Programme can be found on the Transport Scotland website at www.transport.gov.scot/a96dualling.