PROPOSALS BY TRANSPORT SCOTLAND for a bypass around Elgin could bring major advantages for the town with less congested roads encouraging more people into the town.
That is just one of the suggestion that will be discussed by Councillors when they meet in a Full Council session on Wednesday.
A paper updating members on progress of the £50million A96 dualling project through Moray suggests that it is likely to provide a major boost to businesses in the town – and investigates ways that the local authority can make the most of the existing road structure being greatly relieved of traffic as a result.
The report the senior engineer and principal planning officer at Moray Council are presenting cites the removal of barriers and improving junctions around the existing A96 through Elgin could encourage greater use by pedestrians and cyclists in the town – as well as providing an improved environment in which businesses could prosper.
An anticipated fall of around one-quarter in the number of vehicles passing through Elgin is anticipated whichever route for the new bypass is finally chosen. In the report a detailed draft response to consultation on the preferred route is suggested and advises of likely benefits including economic.
The report suggests there could be: “Potential significant economic benefits to support delivery of the Moray Economic Strategy, with significant job opportunities and spin-off economic benefits during construction.
“When complete the improved connection and reduced journey time will make Moray more attractive for inward investment. The junction strategy is key to supporting key strategic business locations such as Barmuckity, Elgin, Buckie Harbour and Enterprise Park, Forres.
“The dualling will also bring benefits to other business sectors in Moray with reduced journey times, but route choice has to reflect Moray’s wider aspirations and outstanding natural and cultural heritage.”
However, the report also highlights potential problems, including: “Potential significant impacts on popular tourist venues/events including Brodie Castle, Burgie international horse trials, Culbin Forest, Findhorn Bay and Fochabers.”
It adds: “Potential significant impacts on tree nurseries at Newton, Fochabers and Forres, which are 50% of the UK’s tree nurseries and their loss needs to be assessed in relation to the national forest industry.”
The report concludes: “While the dualling project will bring economic development opportunities for Moray, the project needs to be carefully planned to minimise impacts upon local communities and Moray’s outstanding natural and cultural environment.
“The Council has identified a series of considerations to be taken into account as the project progresses towards a preferred route option. The Council wishes to meet more regularly with the team appointed by Transport Scotland as the project moves forward towards a preferred route option.”