The controversial dualling of one of the north-east’s major roads has been branded a “colossal waste of money” by a councillor.
The Garioch area committee were discussing the route options for the Aberdeen to Huntly stretch of the proposed new A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road.
There are three different parts to the dualled road, with three different route options for each.
Many of the councillors who spoke up said they were disappointed that the existing road could not be doubled.
A popular route among the committee was the ‘orange route’ between Kintore and Whiteford, which follows the alignment of the existing road at Thainstone.
The ‘brown route’ between Colpy and Pitcaple, which would be west of the current road between Colpy and Old Rayne and north-east of Old Rayne-Whiteford, also found some favour.
But East Garioch councillor Martin Ford said he was reluctant to formally back any option because he rejected the proposals entirely.
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He said: “I don’t support any of them because the traffic does not justify a dual carriageway.
“This is a colossal waste of public money which would be better spent on other things.
“All of these routes are adjacent to peoples’ homes and I have every sympathy with people who are going to have to leave their home or have a major road right outside their homes.
“I would rather they didn’t do this at all. If they are going to do it, I would hope they stick to the current route as much as possible.”
Councillor Lesley Berry, Inverurie and District ward, said she also hoped that the new route would not stray too far from the current road, to “minimise disruption”.
This was backed by the majority of the committee, despite Councillor David Aitchinson pushing for support for a route north-east of Inverurie to ease pressure on the A947 Aberdeen to Banff road.
Meanwhile, Councillor Fergus Hood said he was pleased Transport Scotland had agreed to meet with councillors because it had so far “refused to discuss the ongoing delays with the AWPR”.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “All the feedback we receive, including from local councillors and other key stakeholders, will help inform the development and assessment work for the scheme.
“Anyone can contact Amey Arup’s landowner and communities team or the A96 dualling mailbox at any time with comments or queries they might have.
“Throughout the development of the transformational AWPR project, we have kept both our funding partners Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council fully updated on the progress being made.
“The transport secretary updated parliament just a few weeks ago and has held several positive discussions with the contractor since then.”