Transport Scotland has unveiled its updated plans for a cycle path as part of the A96 dualling from Hardmuir to Fochabers which could encourage people to leave their cars at home.
New proposals include more than 24 miles of shared-use paths which will benefit cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians.
The travel path facilities are one of the main objectives of the revised plans and it’s hoped they will motivate residents in the surrounding communities to keep active.
Another suggested positive outcome of the paths for non-motorised users is that it will connect local communities along the route, from Auldearn and Brodie right through to Lhanbryde and Fochabers, linking Forres, Alves and Elgin on the route.
Since releasing details of their preferred design option last December, Transport Scotland has been developing details of its plans to further improve the scheme with the help of public responses.
The organisation’s Niamh Callaghan, Hardmuir to Fochabers project manager, said: “The important thing is that people come to these events and put their feedback, we’re asking for feedback from now until December and we’ll respond and consider it all.
“It’ll be the first time people are seeing some of the active travel facilities, so it’s important that we get feedback on that.”
Anne and John Sutherland, of Pluscarden, were among the crowd gathered at the exhibition in Forres Town Hall yesterday.
Mrs Sutherland said: “It’s going to affect a lot of people’s lives in one way or another, but we’re pleased with what we’ve seen.”
Once the feedback has been assessed, Transport Scotland will aim to refine the design of the preferred option for the A96 dualling before publishing the draft orders by the end of 2020.
It is then hoped construction can commence with the intended completion date of the project set at 2030.
Ms Callaghan added: “The benefits it’s going to bring to the local communities are that it’s predicted to have just over 20 minutes journey time savings for road users.
“We’re providing better local connections with our active travel facilities and better safety for users.”
The A96 exhibition runs from noon until 7pm at Elgin Town Hall today and will take place at the same time tomorrow at Speymouth Hall, Mosstodloch.