An A96 dualling campaign group calling for more involvement in the decision making process for the new route has held positive talks with transport chiefs.
The Forres A96 Community Group (FA96CG) wants to introduce a co-creative process that would lead to the local community working closely with Transport Scotland to produce the best solution for the whole of the town.
Transport Scotland announced this week the preferred options for the Hardmuir to Fochabers section of the A96 dualling project.
The route goes north of Forres, south of Elgin and north of Fochabers.
Campaigner Susie Minto highlighted the benefits of the community getting involved in the decision making process.
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She said: “It was a very helpful meeting. We appreciated the chance to discuss our request for a joined-up process of deeper community engagement.
“We emphasised the benefit of accessing local knowledge, intergenerational involvement, the needs of non-motorised traffic, and how we can inform the bigger picture of what is best for Forres, not just for the long distance drivers on the new dual carriageway.
“We asked for drive-through visualisations showing a three-dimensional picture of the route, rather than a flat line on a map. We feel these would be helpful in the early stage of the preferred route consultation process to indicate roughly what the new road would look like from different angles.”
Transport Scotland has held public exhibitions throughout Moray this week
The Scottish Government intends for the road, which will take about 20 minutes off journey times between Inverness and Aberdeen, to be completed by 2030.
The north of Forres route cuts across the Benromach distillery and was criticised by managing director of the distillery’s owners Gordon & MacPhail as “the wrong site for the future growth of Forres.
Niamh Callaghan, project manager of the scheme from Hardmuir to Fochabers, believed the meeting was useful and will help them in the future for community engagement.
She said: “It was useful for us to hear their concerns and we will be engaging with them and the rest of the community going forward.”