WORK to improve a notorious North-east bottleneck has taken a step forward with the appointment of a designer.
Consultancy Scott Wilson Group Plc has been charged with moving on the preparation and design work to upgrade the A96 at the Inveramsay Bridge near Inverurie, after the project was put out to tender last month.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “I’m delighted to announce the appointment of the designer for this stage of the work which reconfirms our commitment to upgrading the A96.
“We recognise the strategic importance of the road between the north of Scotland’s two cities and this work builds on other major improvements already under way including the £31m Fochabers bypass which is currently under construction and on time for delivery next spring.”
He added: “This Government is committed to improving our transport networks across Scotland and improving Inveramsay Bridge was earmarked in our Strategic Transport Project’s Review.
“This announcement demonstrates we are not just delivering improvements now but we are also investing in the crucial and necessary steps towards further upgrades in the future. By ensuring communities and businesses are better connected to economic centres, this project will also improve access to other future growth areas on the A96 corridor.”
The news has also been welcomed by the First Minister and Gordon MSP Alex Salmond, but questions still remain over how the upgrade will be funded.
Mr Salmond said: “I’m delighted that the next stage of this upgrade has been confirmed, taking us one step closer to tackling the North-east’s most notorious bottleneck.
“Not only will the upgrade reduce delays and ease journey times but it will improve business links for those north of the Bridge, helping to promote economic growth in the area.
“The A96 is a key strategic link road and everyone in the constituency recognises the importance of delivering this upgrade.
“After years of inaction by previous administrations, and almost 30 years of Lib Dem representation in this constituency, it is only because we have an SNP Government in power that we have seen such significant progress on this project.
“That the Scottish Government is delivering on Inveramsay in the face of nearly 40% cut backs being imposed by the Tory/ Lib Dem coalition is testament to the importance the SNP places on upgrading this key route for the benefit of all those who use stretch.”