Councillor fears A96 dualling could take years longer than planned

Cllr Marc MacRae at the Old Bridge over the Spey, next to the A96 at Fochabers with his 3 year old granddaughter, Emelia Stanforth.

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Michael Traill						
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Cllr Marc MacRae at the Old Bridge over the Spey, next to the A96 at Fochabers with his 3 year old granddaughter, Emelia Stanforth. Photo by Michael Traill 9 South Road Rhynie Huntly AB54 4GA Contact numbers Mob 07739 38 4792 Home 01464 861425

A Moray councillor has expressed fears that his own three–year-old granddaughter will have grandchildren by the time the A96 dualling in the area is complete.

Councillor Marc Macrae said the process of deciding where to build the dual carriageway, and the time it would take to build, would cause uncertainty for people in the area.

Transport bosses have submitted a shortlist of options for how a dualled A96 road between Aberdeen and Inverness could run through the region.

More than 1,800 people have attended a series of exhibitions around Moray to view the plans.

The process of turning the route into a dual carriageway is scheduled to be completed by 2030, but Mr Macrae doubts Transport Scotland’s timetable for the work.

He said: “Nothing is going to happen with the A96 dualling until the A9 project is completed, which will probably be at least 2030 if there are no snags.

“There are so many complexities and issues surrounding it that I believe it’s something that won’t happen in my lifetime – I believe my granddaughter will have grandchildren herself by then, or certainly be a decent age.

“I think this is going to be something that drags on and on. It’s going to be difficult for people because of all the uncertainty that that will cause.”

The uncertainty over where the project has been built has caused problems for local business.

Karen Sutherland secured planning permission to create a campsite at Macbeth’s Hillock, reputedly the site for the meeting with the three witches at the opening of Shakespeare’s play.

One of the proposed routes would see the dual carriageway going right through the historic spot, which would put an end to the campsite plans.

Mrs Sutherland said that the time it had taken for a decision to be made, and the uncertainty that had caused, had left her in a difficult position.

She said: “We have been planning this for so long, it’s frustrating to have this hanging over our heads.

“They won’t even give us a proper timescale, so it’s really difficult to plan ahead and to work towards anything.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have given a clear commitment to dual the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen by 2030 – and we remain on track to meet that target.”

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