Moray Council is being asked to give its backing for an Elgin bypass and raise concerns with the Scottish Government over slow progress on dualling the A96.
Labour councillors Sandy Keith and John Divers will put forward a notice of motion calling on the local authority’s leadership to write to transport minister Jenny Gilruth reminding her of previous SNP commitments to improve the route.
They are also calling for a firm timetable for completing the scheme, including when relevant orders are expected to go before parliament and the date construction will begin.
Both councillors were involved in an Elgin bypass campaign group in the early 2000s along with the council, Moray TUC, politicians and local newspaper the Northern Scot.
The campaign proved unsuccessful with the local authority told to improve the roads infrastructure in the town.
Soon after that the SNP government gave a commitment to dual the length of the A96, that would see traffic being routed past Elgin.
Full dualling of the trunk road between Aberdeen and Inverness was included in the SNP manifesto for the 2007 Holyrood elections, and also in the Scottish Government Infrastructure Investment Plan 2011.
In 2018 Transport Scotland stated its preferred route for A96 dualling that included an Elgin bypass was between Hardmuir to the east of Nairn and Fochabers.
However, there is doubt over the future of the scheme since the SNP and Greens entered into a power-sharing deal following elections last year.
A climate change compatibility review into dualling the route is being carried out.
Elgin bypass doubt
Councillor for Elgin North Mr Keith, who is putting forward the notice of motion, said: “This is something I was involved with when I was last on the council when there was a campaign.
“This is something that’s been affecting the people of Moray for quite some time, and it’s an issue that comes up a lot when I speak to folk.
“The roads are getting more and more full and congestion is getting worse.
“It’s an inadequate road system, and I’m hoping we get the full backing of the council.”
Councillor for Elgin South Mr Divers is seconding the motion.
He said: “There was a campaign for an Elgin bypass, but here we are 20 years on and there’s no bypass.
“We need local authorities to put pressure on the government, because it would appear the SNP are bowing to the Greens and this issue is being pushed further and further back.
“We were promised dualling of the A96 would be completed by 2030.
“It’ll be more like 2050 – that’s if we get it at all.”
The notice of motion will go before a meeting of the full Moray Council on Wednesday August 10.