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Bust-up over cycle lane threatens to delay A9 dualling

The A9 between Aviemore and Carrbridge.
The A9 between Aviemore and Carrbridge.

A public local inquiry is to be held after Transport Scotland refused to alter plans for the A9 dualling project between Aviemore and Carrbridge.

Objectors in the local community are seeking an active travel route to be implemented alongside the dualling project – however, Transport Scotland is refusing their wish.

The dispute has caused Cairngorm National Park Authority (CNPA), Highland Council and Carrbridge, Aviemore and Boat of Garten community councils to lodge objections.

Calls have now been made for common sense to prevail in order to “save considerable time cost and effort”.

Edward Mountain MSP has called for Transport Scotland to amend their proposals to satisfy all parties and deliver a complete and unbroken cycle route spanning from Inverness to Perth.

Mr Mountain has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport Michael Matheson to express his “huge disappointment”.

He added: “It appears to me that a simple agreement could save considerable time cost and effort, improve safety, promote active travel and help contribute to reductions in vehicle use.”

Grant Moir, Cairngorms National Park Authority chief executive, said the inclusion of a route would be “a significant improvement in the facilities” for residents and visitors and would be “in keeping with other major trunk roads improvement projects in Scotland”.

Highland Council convener Bill Lobban echoed his sentiments, adding that it is “inconceivable that Transport Scotland would not deliver a non-motorised user route”.

He said the united approach to deliver an active route would be “relatively minor” and if a commitment from Transport Scotland was received, Highland Council would withdraw its objection.

CNPA has said they would also withdraw their objection should an agreement be reached.

Mr Lobban added: “We are not going to be satisfied until there is a non-motorised user route.”

Transport Scotland has said it will not consider the active travel route as part of the dualling plans. However, has said it will work alongside the objecting parties to deliver a route outwith the dualling programme.

A spokesman said: “It is entirely normal for a scheme of this complexity to be considered at public local inquiry, which is the appropriate forum for considering objections received, but not withdrawn”.

The inquiry is expected to get under way on March 9.

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