A councillor has demanded urgent action to tackle congestion in one of Aberdeenshire’s fastest growing towns.
Tory councillor, Colin Clark, said options to address Inverurie’s growing traffic issues should be put “back on the table” so they can be resolved as quickly as possible.
Garioch residents will have to wait until 2019 before a “preferred option” for dualling the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road around Inverurie is selected.
Proposals being considered by Transport Scotland for the “eastern section” of the road include a dual carriageway from Blackburn to just north of Huntly, passing west of Inverurie and close to the Bennachie Forest.
Another option is a smaller eastern bypass, connecting Inverurie and the Glens of Foudland. Both would be delivered alongside the wider improvements being implemented on the A96.
Transport Scotland has committed itself to dualling the road by 2030.
The Scottish Government’s department for planning and environmental appeals recently examined Aberdeenshire Council’s proposed 2016 local development plan.
Senior planners concluded the local authority “continues to place too much emphasis on the effects of the proposed dualling of the A96” and that the town centre congestion currently “compromised the operation” of the A96.
Inverurie and District councillor, Mr Clark said: “The reporter said the A96 is not necessary the answer to Inverurie’s congestion. Inverurie is hamstrung unless we are able to find some way of relieving traffic.
“It is not going to be dealt until I am an old man. It could be 2025 or 2030. We don’t see the corridor until 2019.
“Can we relieve the traffic through Inverurie? We (councillors) need to discuss it again, but what is the solution? The A96 is too far away and not the answer.
“We have to look at how we are going to address the congestion in Inverurie. It is choked up for two to three hours a day. It is one of the biggest issues and we get consistent complaints about it.”
A council report following the DPEA’s comments – which went before the council’s Garioch area committee in January – stated: “They (the reporters) conclude that they think the A96 will not address all issues of congestion in Inverurie town centre but that any solution would be best managed in full knowledge of the A96 option that is to be progressed.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said last night the plans for the A96 between Huntly and Aberdeen were still at an “early stage”.
He added: “The Scottish Government is committed to dualling the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen by 2030, bringing improved journey time and reliability, improved connectivity and improved road safety for all those who use this key artery connecting two of Scotland’s economic hubs.
“We are currently at the very early stages of the dualling design and assessment process for the section of the A96 east of Huntly to Aberdeen (eastern section), with no route options having been developed at this stage.
“Route options for the eastern section will be developed at the next stage of the design and assessment process which is planned to start following the appointment of design consultants later this year and will take around two years to complete.
“As we progress to this next stage of development, further public consultations will be undertaken as part of our rolling programme of engagement to ensure that communities, businesses and individuals affected by the work are kept fully informed and vital feedback taken into account.”