Plans to dual a busy north-east road have been criticised by councillors who believe another route should have been prioritised.
Transport Scotland is currently carrying out a public consultation as part of its project to upgrade the A96 between Aberdeen and Inverness.
But last night, the councillor leading an online campaign to have the A90 dualled from Aberdeen to Peterhead questioned why the A96 had been prioritised.
Campaigners have been calling for the A90 to be improved for years to tackle congestion caused by tractors and lorries delivering to the busy ports of Fraserburgh and Peterhead.
And although the stretch between Balmedie and Tipperty is to be dualled as part of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project, Ellon councillor Gillian Owen wants the rest of the road to be upgraded.
Mrs Owen – who set up the social media campaign Why Stop At Ellon? – accepted the A96 needed to be made into a dual-carriageway, but argued the A90 was more important.
She said: “I think the A90 should have priority but I do know that the A96 does need updating as well. The problem is the concentration of money has been spent on the central belt.
“What I’d like to see is the A90 dualled right the way through to Peterhead, and ideally right through to Fraserburgh. I think the A90 should be by far more important than the A96 but the money is not there.
“All this money and all these resources were spent down in the central belt and the money should have been split. We are the forgotten area.”
She was backed by Fraserburgh councillor Ian Tait, who raised concerns that dualling the A96 may encourage tourists to head straight from Aberdeen to Inverness, rather than spend time exploring other parts of the north-east.
He said: “I think it is absolutely the wrong thing to do because, once people come to Aberdeen, the last thing I want to see them do is leave to go straight to Inverness.
“I would have thought the priority – for both safety and to encourage visitors to the north-east – would have been dualling right up from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said Nestrans was currently carrying out an appraisal of the strategic transport connections on the A90 from Fraserburgh to Aberdeen.
He added that the Scottish Government is “addressing years of under investment in north-east transport infrastructure” through the AWPR, Haudagain, Inveramsay Bridge and A96 schemes.