Councillors have claimed that a “hybrid” option to improve transport connections to the north-east will avoid the issue becoming a “road versus rail match”.
Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee yesterday backed the development of fresh road and rail links from Ellon to Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
The most popular options include dualling the A90 Ellon to Fraserburgh road and reinstating the former Formartine and Buchan rail line.
Councillors voiced support for a “hybrid” solution, combining the two proposals and members of the committee also said they hoped the plans would come to fruition quicker than the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.
Overtaking lanes and road safety improvements on the busy road have also been proposed, along with those on the A952 Toll of Birness to Lonmay road.
Other suggestions include bus, and park and ride options.
Councillors were yesterday told reinstating the Buchan railway line would be possible between Dyce and Ellon – with the potential for new lines to Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
The council’s head of transportation, Ewan Wallace, said: “It is not a road versus rail debate, because there are a whole range of issues that will come through that next detailed assessment. As an officer I have been through this process previously.
“It does take a long time, I am desperately hoping the work here won’t take anywhere near as long as the peripheral route.”
Ellon and district councillor, Rob Merson, added: “I think it is right we are looking at a hybrid (solution), and I think that is an answer.
“A hybrid mix would pro
Councillor Peter Argyle – vice-chairman of Nestrans – said he hoped the project “won’t take us 40 years” – referring to the length of time required to make the 28-mile AWPR a reality.
He added: “We have to have the most robust business case we can possibly pull together.
“We clearly have some work to do to make sure this gets into the political agendas on a local and national level. I welcome this as another step along the road.”
Chairman of the committee, David Aitchison, said: “This is not a road versus rail contest, it is very important to emphasise that.”
Members welcomed the report and noted council officers would undertake further consultations with Transport Scotland, bus and rail operators.