A north-east MSP has urged transport bosses not to leave a key road “to rot” while embarking upon a major upgrade project nearby.
Aberdeenshire West representative Alexander Burnett is calling on the Scottish Government to commit to improvements on the A96 between the city bypass and Inverurie.
He said residents have complained about safety concerns due to the quality of the road surface and a lack of lighting.
Work is ongoing to dual the A96 between Aberdeen and Inverness, with 86 new miles of road intended to improve journey times and safety.
As part of this, upgrades to the stretch referred to by Mr Burnett are still under consideration – but he says there is “no excuse” for the failure to reach a definitive decision.
“I am disappointed the Scottish Government won’t commit to making improvements between the AWPR and Inverurie at the same time as work takes place on other parts of the route – there really is no excuse,” he said.
“Residents in areas such as Kintore often express concerns over safety on the road or just the general condition of the surface.
“When work commences on dualling other parts of the A96, surely it makes sense for those resources to also be put into improving the existing dual carriageway.
“Commuters who use and live on the route are in a position of doubt on whether any improvements will be made to the current dual carriageway because the Scottish Government simply won’t commit to it.
“The last thing anyone wants is for that part of the road to be left to rot while vehicles continue to use the route as part of their journey between Aberdeen and Inverness.”
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the development of any upgrades to the stretch will follow the standard assessment procedure.
In a written response to Mr Burnett, he added: “Improvements to the existing A96 dual carriageway and its junctions between the AWPR and Inverurie will be considered as part of the ongoing development and assessment of the East of Huntly to Aberdeen stretch of the route.”
He added that they would be “subject to further public engagement” as part of that process.