An engineering expert, who served in the RAF for more than 20 years, has urged Transport Scotland to rule out a southern bypass of Elgin – describing it as a “nightmare scenario”.
Traffic will be diverted around Moray’s biggest town as part of the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness dualling project.
Several routes to the north and south of Elgin have been proposed by bosses, who will announce their preferred choice for the Nairn to Fochabers section next year.
But, last night, Gordon Bain, who was a mechanical specialist on the RAF Kinloss Nimrod fleet, insisted routing vehicles to the south would make already “endemic congestion” even worse.
The Mosstowie resident has spent the first four weeks of his retirement after stepping down from teaching at Forres Academy preparing a 16-page dossier for Transport Scotland.
And Mr Bain has concluded it is critical the new A96 runs between Elgin and Lossiemouth to take advantage of millions of pounds worth of investment and meet the needs of a booming population.
It is expected about 2,000 people could be moving to the region over the next three years as part of the expansion of RAF Lossiemouth.
Mr Bain said: “Most of the proposed housing in Elgin will be built in the north – it’s weighted by 67.% compared to 18.6% before considering the southern housing development, which could have up to 2,500 homes.
“There’s the expansion of Lossiemouth to consider as well. These additional personnel and their families will bring increasing demands for housing and transport links.
“Why propose a southern route miles from a confirmed massive investment, secure economic growth and a growing centre?”
During his RAF career, Mr Bain prepared extensive reports on problems to find the most efficient solution.
The veteran believes the more hilly landscape of the southern option, which also has more forests, would make it more expensive to build.
Yesterday, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead encouraged as many people as possible to have their say about the proposals.
He said: “The A96 dualling project is going to help dramatically improve connectivity for Moray, but it’s important that the correct route is chosen.”
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman added: “We’re keen to hear the views of locals and road users on the options being considered.
“The information presented at the exhibitions is available on the scheme web page and the closing date for any comments is August 4.”