Contract awarded to plan dualled A96 route through Moray

A96 road plans take another step forward
A96 road plans take another step forward

TRANSPORT SCOTLAND HAS revealed the name of the company awarded a £50million contract to plan the dualling of the A96 through Moray.

The route assessment of the project for the stretch between Auldearn and Fochabers has been awarded to Mott MacDonald Sweco Joint Venture, who will commence design work next month subject to a mandatory standstill period.

In one of his first tasks in his new role as minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf MSP said: “We remain steadfast in our commitment to upgrade Scotland’s trunk road network which includes dualling the entire length of the A96, some 86 miles of upgraded road between Inverness and Aberdeen, by 2030.

“This major design contract marks a further milestone towards the dualling of the A96 with all the investment and improvements that it will bring to local economies right across the north of Scotland.

“Road users will not only enjoy the benefits of improved journey time and reliability, better connectivity between destinations but also, crucially, improved road safety for all those who use this key artery connecting two of Scotland’s economic hubs.

“In addition, this contract will also provide a huge boost for the local and national economy, with the successful bidder securing steady work for years to come and many more opportunities for small and medium enterprises through subcontracted work.”

Last week both Richard Lochhead MSP and Douglas Ross MSP stressed the importance to Moray of the A96 dualling, with Mr Lochhead pledging to ensure Transport Scotland were fully aware of the need to take account of local views in the plans, while Mr Ross stressed the need for Moray Council to be more closely involved throughout the route planning process.

Last night Mr Ross reiterated that stance and revealed he had also written to the new minster, saying: “I welcome the progress with dualling the A96 but I want to ensure local concerns and issues are highlighted right from the start of the process.

“I have written to the new Transport Minister seeking an early meeting to present a number of issues that have been raised with me about potential options for this road.  The route must be one that delivers for commuters, local people living in the area and the wider community.

“We only get one opportunity to design this road and it must be in the best location for all involved.  That is why I have immediately written to the Transport Minister following this announcement seeking an urgent meeting to ensure he is fully aware of the issues local people living in this area are currently expressing.

“I don’t want to waste time and wait for options to become proposals.  By then it could be too late.  It is imperative that government ministers are aware of local opinions and I look forward to discussing these with the Transport Minister.”