HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and islands, is urging the Scottish Government to swiftly implement the commitments it has made in the Bute House power-sharing agreement to upgrade the A96 Inverness – Aberdeen road – advocating that proposed bypasses of Nairn, Elgin and Keith, should be dual and not single carriageway.
At their recent quarterly meeting in Elgin, the HITRANS Partnership Board agreed to write to Scottish Transport Secretary Mairi McAllan to seek an early go ahead for the first phase of committed works on the A96 for dualling between Inverness and Wester Hardmuir, on the eastern outskirts of Nairn, including a bypass of Nairn that should also be dual-carriageway.
The Board say that later phases of work to build bypasses of Elgin and Keith should replicate the same high standard of carriageway as Nairn ie dual carriageway.
The call for action on the A 96 was raised during a discussion on the Partnership’s Regional Transport Strategy with HITRANS Vice-Convener Councillor Amber Dunbar, Moray Council, and Councillor Paul Oldham, The Highland Council, prominent in highlighting the case for early action to remove heavy traffic flows that run through and divide key settlements on the busy trunk road.
Councillor Dunbar said:
“The commitment to upgrade the A96 in the Bute House Agreement was welcome, but must now be delivered.
“It would vastly improve the connectivity between towns, tackle congestion in town centres and address safety and environmental concerns.
“I am firmly of the view that the Elgin, Keith and Nairn bypasses will only be fully effective if they are dual carriageway.
“This the only way to ensure the road safety and strategic connectivity benefits of the scheme can be realised.”
Councillor Oldham said:
“The dualling of the A96 between Inverness and just east of Nairn will be a huge boost for our area, not least in allowing for the growth of our prospering area but also removing congestion in the town.
“We are very hopeful that Nairn is to feature a dual carriageway bypass and our expectation is therefore that Elgin – as the largest settlement on the route between Inverness and Aberdeen – and Keith are afforded the same standard of bypass.”