Earlier this week the leader of Moray Council, Allan Wright, insisted that plans for the A96 could not affect those the Council has to build their hotly-contested western link road into Elgin.
Councillor Wright said that Elgin would have a ‘low priority’ for bypass works and were unlikely to even see a major route change on the A96 until 2030.
However, campaigners against the link road project insisted that things had moved on considerably since the changes to the A96 was first announced, adding that the local authority should retain an option to review their decision when the Scottish Government announce the future route of the A96 in the next few months.
Now a member of the transportation group for the Moray Economic Strategy, Councillor Graham Leadbitter, has said that he believes the A96 project needs to be scheduled in a manner that would bring the greatest benefits in the shortest time – and that would mean placing a high priority on a new bypass for Elgin.
Councillor Leadbitter said: “There is a logic behind starting work as quickly as possible to put a dual-carriageway bypass around Elgin. Due to the length of the tow, it is the biggest single bottleneck on the A96.
“With a bypass, you could potentially shave 40 minutes from a journey time between Aberdeen and Inverness during peak hours – that would be a huge bonus for haulage firms because it would mean that, for the first time, lorry drivers would be able to make return journeys between the cities within an eight-hour working day.
“Improvements to both the A96 and A9 are certainly required but it is our job now to make sure that Moray gets as high up the list of priorities as possible.”