A major expansion of one of the north-east’s biggest roads has taken another step forward with the award of a £50million design contract.
Transport Scotland has announced Amey Arup Joint Venture will be tasked with designing a major section of the dualled A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road, between the Granite City and Huntly.
The work will also involve devising the best route for the 26-mile section of the road to take.
Subject to the mandatory standstill period, the company will start design work on the project next month.
The project forms a part of the overall dualling of the road between the city and Inverness with 86 miles due to be upgraded by 2030.
The Scottish Government’s economy minister has said the project will have a number of positive benefits for communities in the north and north-east.
Keith Brown, cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, said: “The fact that four tenderers, including joint ventures, competed for this major contract is evidence of the interest in the market engendered by the infrastructure improvements this government is delivering across the country including in the north.
“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.”
Design work for the Inverness to Nairn stretch, including the bypass, and the western section between Hardmuir and Fochabers is already under way.
The public has already been given a chance to have their say on the designs with a preferred option expected to be announced next year.