A multimillion pound scheme to improve a notorious north-east road has been approved.
The enhancement strategy for the A947 Aberdeen to Banff route was unveiled by the local authority earlier this year, and outlined ways to improve safety – ranging from creating overtaking lanes, building bypasses and dualling the route.
Mark Skilling, Aberdeenshire Council’s head of transport strategy, has since visited area committees along the route to present his findings.
And yesterday his report was given the seal of approval.
Dubbed a “starting gun for action”, Mr Skilling and his team has suggested 20 ways to bring the route up to scratch.
They include overtaking lanes, increasing police speed limit enforcement and building bypass roads around some communities in the area.
The most expensive – overhauling the entire A947 into a dual carriageway – would cost about £500million.
Yesterday, head of transportation Ewan Wallace said the improvements, once agreed and funded, would be rolled out “as quickly as possible”.
Area committees along the route will now be consulted about which options they prefer.
“Up to the point of this piece of work, you as councillors did not have a body of work to base your decisions,” Mr Wallace said.
“We now, I think, have a strong base to work on.”
Westhill councillor David Aitchison welcomed the report, suggesting it raised the importance of dualling work on the A947 not just for safety, but for wider regeneration benefits.
“The implications and possibilities presented by the dualling of the A947 must be highlighted,” he said.
“I don’t think we would be doing our duty unless we did that.”
Inverurie’s Bryan Stuart added: “We want to maintain good momentum.
“A lot of what we do affects the economy. We really need to pick up this report, work constructively with the whole of
Aberdeenshire, and run with it.”
Improvements which could be rolled out in a short timescale include improved signage and driver education programmes.
Mr Wallace told councillors these schemes could take up to two years to come to fruition.