In the fourth of our series on the future of the A90, Cameron Brooks asks Scotland’s transport boss what are the chances of getting a dual carriageway between Ellon and Peterhead any time soon?
Transport Minister Keith Brown has said he recognised the importance of the A90 trunk road between Ellon and Peterhead but stopped short of giving a commitment to upgrade it to dual carriageway.
He said the Scottish Government’s “current focus” was on delivering the Aberdeen bypass and upgrading the route between Balmedie to Tipperty.
The SNP minister said the projects – expected to be completed by 2018 – would bring an additional £6billion to the local economy and generate around 900 construction jobs.
According to the minister, road safety would be improved and congestion problems would be addressed.
But his response to the Ellon to Peterhead issue has not impressed the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats who claim the SNP has “neglected” the region.
Gillian Owen, a Ellon and District councillor, said: “The message from local residents is clear – don’t stop at Ellon.
“It is vital that we see the upgrading of the A90 between Ellon and Peterhead put at the top of the political agenda.”
Mr Brown said: “We recognise that this is an important route for businesses along the north east coast, particularly the Energetica Corridor.
“Transport Scotland has been working with Nestrans as they develop a brief for the Energetica Corridor – All Modes Study which aims to examine options to improve strategic transport connections from Fraserburgh and Peterhead to Aberdeen.
“Quite rightly our current focus is on ensuring the existing projects currently underway for the north east are delivered to the revised timeline and budget.
“We are seeking to accelerate these deadlines where possible.”
North-east Tory MSP Nanette Milne said the A90 between Ellon and Peterhead was now perhaps the “last key” trunk road in Scotland that needed upgrading.
She claimed the project was vital to the economic regeneration of the region as part of the Energetica corridor.
Mrs Milne said: “With many road projects taking place it is vital that pressure is put on the SNP to provide a timescale and resources so that the A90 does not become Scotland’s forgotten road,” she added.
“It is clear that this road is vital to the economic regeneration and development of northern Aberdeenshire and must be given priority for future infrastructure funding.”
North-east Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes said it was “high time” that the region got a fair deal from the Scottish Government on transport projects.
“Whether we are talking about ending the gridlock in Aberdeen or dualling roads like the A90, the SNP’s record on north-east infrastructure is one of complacency and neglect,” she added.
“The Peterhead – Ellon – Bridge of Don corridor has huge potential, as the Energetica vision outlines.
“But we will not achieve the level of economic growth that the skills and expertise of our local businesses could support without improvements to key transport links.
“Dualling the A90 is one step that could make a real difference and ministers need to look closely what they can do to make this a reality.”