Transport Secretary Michael Matheson re-affirmed that a major north-east road will not be dualled along the existing route – despite repeated calls from campaigners.
Several routes for the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness dualling project are under consideration by Transport Scotland, but the idea of dualling it along the existing route through Inverurie has been “ruled out as an option”.
Mr Matheson toured several developments in the north-east yesterday, including the Aberdeen Harbour expansion and upcoming Kintore station, which is a key part of the Scottish Government’s £330million project to improve rail between Aberdeen and Inverness.
During his visit to the £14.5million Kintore Station construction site, Mr Matheson also discussed the ongoing efforts to dual the A96, and the “differing opinions” among communities on what is the best approach.
A shortlist of options have been outlined for dualling the project between Aberdeen and Huntly, but local politicians and campaign groups such as A96 Action have called for transport bosses to dual the road along the existing route.
Mr Matheson has appealed for anyone with concerns about the final selection of dualling choices to take part on ongoing consultations in order to make their voices heard.
He said: “I’m conscious that there are differing opinions within the local community on what they would have as the preferred route, so it’s important that people feed their opinions and concerns into these consultations.
“A range of routes have already been considered, and they’ve already been reduced and narrowed down to the routes we’re consulting on at the present time, and they remain the routes we’re actively considering for the dualling of the A96.
“It’s important that we look at all the pros and cons associated with all of those particular options, but in terms of the on-line dualling through Inverurie, this has already been considered and ruled out as an option.”
The transport secretary also hailed the efforts to re-instate Kintore’s railway station, which first opened in 1954 but was shut down in 1964 during the Beeching cuts.
He also announced a further eight communities across Scotland which will benefit from a £817,000 share of the Local Rail Development Fund (LRDF) to help with appraisal work and to develop plans for potential improvements.
One of the eight beneficiaries of the newly announced funding will be Nestrans, who will use the cash to consider the viability of “further rail stations” in the north-east.