A multimillion-pound scheme to upgrade one of the north-east’s busiest roads will start within weeks.
Transport Scotland will confirm today that Balfour Beatty will carry out the £10million project to cut congestion at the notorious Inveramsay Bridge bottleneck on the A96 Aberdeen-Inverness route.
It is hoped that by replacing the bridge and realigning the road, the flow of traffic – which is currently controlled by traffic lights – will be improved, along with journey times.
The work will also reduce the likelihood of large vehicles hitting the bridge, which can cause disruption to both road and rail users.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “This project – along with progress made on the dualling of the A96 and A9 as well as the pre-commencement works on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route-Balmedie-Tipperty scheme – represents billions of pounds of investment and underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensuring that the transport infrastructure in the north and north-east of Scotland is fit for purpose.
“We want to see an early solution to this particular bottleneck and today’s announcement is welcome progress delivering on our pledge to start construction work before the end of the year.”
The improvements will take the road 328ft west of the existing bridge towards the River Urie, to which it will run parallel before turning south to cross the railway line.
Under the plans a junction at the existing bridge will also be created to provide local access, as well as an underpass.
Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West SNP MSP, welcomed the appointment of Balfour Beatty and the progress on the scheme.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted that this project is moving forward. The transport minister made a commitment to get this work done and I’m absolutely delighted that it’s going forward at the time that was specified.”
North-east Tory MSP Nanette Milne, whose party campaigned for the Scottish Government to resolve the problems with the road, said: “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m pleased it’s finally going to go ahead.
“We all know that it is a serious bottleneck on the A96, with huge tailbacks in rush hour, and this has been needing done for a long time.”
Construction is expected to be completed in 2016.