A multi-million pound contract has been awarded today for the first section of the Scottish Government’s ambitious A96 dualling programme.
Transport Scotland today announced the intention to award the £30million design contract for the Inverness to Nairn section, including the long-awaited Nairn Bypass, to Jacobs UK Ltd.
Cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities Keith Brown said: “The Scottish Government has given a clear commitment to dual the A96 which will see delivery of around 88 miles of upgraded road between Inverness and Aberdeen, a huge task but one we are relishing.
“Dualling the A96 requires careful, in-depth planning and design so that we deliver the right scheme and help tackle congestion, make journey times more reliable and, crucially, improve road safety.
“This £30 million design contract for the 19-mile section between Inverness and Nairn which includes a bypass at Nairn, reinforces our determination to invest in this road and all of our city-to-city roads, to bring them up to full dual carriageway standard.
“Design work will start soon to develop the preferred option which was on public display last October, and look to publish draft road orders for the scheme in 2016.
“In addition to this, we are also pushing ahead with early engineering and environmental assessment work for the entire A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen, and will be holding exhibitions along the route this spring to let the public see and comment on our plans.”
The proposals for dualling of the A96 between Inverness and Nairn were revealed in October last year and will essentially create a new road along the Moray Firth coast.
Transport Scotland’s plans will involve the creation of six grade separated junctions and a new Nairn bypass.
Starting from Inverness, new junctions will be built at Smithton and Newton at Balloch.
The road will run to the south of the existing route before crossing to the north at Kerrowaird.
A major new junction will be built at Mid Coul, near Inverness Airport, before the road crosses farmland to rejoin the current route at Gollanfield, near the Highland Foodstop restaurant.
The next new junction will be to the west of Nairn before the road swings away to the south of the town and across fields.
Some local roads willbe realigned to create flyovers across the new dual carriageway.
A new bridge over the River Nairn will be built at Broadley.
Other changes include the removal of a series of bends on the A939 Nairn-Grantown road, south of Househill.
From there the road will cross land at Blackpark farm and head towards Auldearn.
The Nairn bypass will end at a new junction on the outskirts of Auldearn.