Dualling of the A96 Inverness-Aberdeen route is another step closer today with confirmation of a multimillion-pound contract being awarded for the next stage – between Auldearn and Fochabers.
The contract, worth up to £50million, is for route option assessment and detailed design work for the 29-mile stretch.
Mott MacDonald Sweco Joint Venture is scheduled to start design work on the project next month.
New Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “We remain steadfast in our commitment to upgrade Scotland’s trunk road network which includes dualling the entire length of the A96, some 86 miles of upgraded road between Inverness and Aberdeen, by 2030.
“This major design contract marks a further milestone towards the dualling of the A96 with all the investment and improvements that it will bring to local economies right across the north of Scotland.
“Road users will not only enjoy the benefits of improved journey time and reliability, better connectivity between destinations but also, crucially, improved road safety for all those who use this key artery connecting two of Scotland’s economic hubs.”
He added: “This contract will also provide a huge boost for the local and national economy, with the successful bidder securing steady work for years to come and many more opportunities for small and medium enterprises through subcontracted work.”
The minister said the Scottish Government remained on track to finalise the preferred option for the A96 dualling Inverness to Nairn scheme, with draft orders due set to be published later this year.
“Along with our ambitious plans to build over 80 miles of new dualled road on the A9 between Perth and Inverness, delivering the new £1.3billion Queensferry Crossing over the Forth and the £500million M8/M73/M74 improvements in Glasgow, this contract is yet another example of the significant investment we’re making in transport infrastructure across Scotland.”
A96 route option assessment work is expected to take two years to complete.
There are full details of the A96 dualling programme online at http://www.transport.gov.scot/project/a96-dualling-inverness-aberdeen