AN ACTION GROUP has been formed seeking to ensure that dualling plans for the A96 through Moray are maximised for the benefit of all communities along the route.
Last week the Scottish Government revealed that the Moray section of the plan to dual the entire length of the busy route between Aberdeen and Inverness was next in line for a £50million planning contract.
Part of the process will include consultation with residents – and for that reason some members of the public have got together to form an action group that will monitor what they say is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
Chairing the new Forres Area A96 Dualling Action Group is local businessman Brian Higgs, who said that there was no doubt that Elgin was in “desparate need of a bypass”, adding: “This is going to be a once in a lifetime chance to get this right and we cannot just sleepwalk into Transport Scotland’s proposals.
“One of the current options is effectively a Moray bypass which will leave Forres and Elgin isolated away from the main trunk road. Moray Council must show us that they can be proactive and push Transport Scotland for the best A96 solution for Moray.”
Transport Scotland has moved to assure residents that consultation on the project would take place over a “number of phases at various stages as they develop”. A spokesman added: “We have already consulted widely on our initial plans in November 2013 and again in May this year – and will continue to do so as our plans develop.
“We will consult with local residents and road users on the route options which are developed before any preferred route is identified.”
A Moray Council spokesman confirmed that they had met with members of the action group and made it clear that they wished the “right dualled A96”, adding: “So far as the council’s response to the Transport Scotland consultation is concerned, it was proportionate given the very early stage in the overall process.”