A long-awaited Nairn bypass will leave some surrounding communities “disconnected”, according to angry residents.
Although many locals appeared to favour the proposed four-lane A96 at a drop-in session yesterday, there were strong complaints about various stretches of the route.
Local SNP councillor Liz MacDonald predicted there could yet be a public inquiry.
Ms MacDonald made the forecast after seeing the display for herself at the town’s Newton Hotel.
She said: “Some people directly affected have genuine concerns and although (engineers) Jacobs and Transport Scotland have tried to accommodate them, there’s only so much they can do on a project of this grand scale,” she said.
Julie Smith, who has lived at Woodend House at Dalcross for 13 years, paid tribute to Jacobs’ “positive” responses to noise and mitigation issues she and neighbours had made but she has lingering concerns.
She said: “If we’d have known there was going to be a realignment of the dual carriageway to come right through the wood, I don’t think we’d have considered buying there.
“People moving to the new town (Tornagrain) will have peace and tranquility while existing residents have basically lost out.”
From a Nairn perspective, Nairn Suburban and West Community Council chairman found the chosen route “very acceptable.”
Almost 1,300 acres of surrounding countryside will need to be compulsorily purchased locally to make way for the new road.
Amid angry criticism among some residents about the route choice, Craig Cameron of Transport Scotland said: “We’ve been through a two-year assessment process. Options south of the preferred route were assessed and it’s well documented as to why we came to that decision.”
The Transport Scotland exhibition, at the Newton Hotel yesterday, today switches to Nairn Community and Arts Centre (noon-7pm) and then to Culloden and between the same times tomorrow at Culloden-Balloch Baptist Church.
A flyover video is available online to experience the proposed new dual carriageway at