THE news that Transport Minister Keith Brown has pushed the The Inveramsay Bridge project forward to the design stage has been welcomed by MSPs, although a huge question mark remains on how the upgrade will be funded, or indeed whether the actual work will also get the green light.
Mr Brown said: “The design contract has now been put out to tender with the successful civil engineering consultant to be appointed in the spring.”
The tendering process should identify the preferred design solution to remove the traffic bottleneck, and on completion will end the nightmare suffered by drivers who regularly use the A96.
First Minister and Gordon MSP, Alex Salmond expressed his approval and said: “I welcome today’s announcement which is a key step towards tackling one of the North east’s most notorious bottlenecks. This is remarkable progress considering that Inveramsay had never before been mentioned on a transport programme before the SNP entered office in 2007. Now the green light has been given, I will be writing to the Transport Minister, pressing for a timetable which will see completion of the project within the term of the next parliament.
“Thanks to the Scottish Government, motorists in Gordon can look forward to a new Inveramsay Bridge on the A96.
“The A96 is a key strategic link road to Aberdeen. Everyone knows the critical nature of the capital spending cutbacks of nearly 40% being imposed by the coalition government, and to still make progress on a new Inveramsay Bridge is great news for the North east of Scotland.”
Conservative MSP Nanette Milne is also keen to secure a completion date . She said: “I very much welcome the news that the Transport Minister has listened to my plea for action to be taken to address the notorious Inveramsay Bridge and for investment to upgrade the A96 and that the green light has been given to seek tenders for design work to upgrade the Inveramsay Bridge.
“It is welcome news that the go-ahead has been given for this work and I hope that the final option will provide for a section of dual carriageway to provide for overtaking opportunities for motorists.
“I have a meeting with the Transport Minister in the coming weeks to discuss issues relating to the A96 and A93 and hope that I will be able to take forward further issues in a positive way for residents across West Aberdeenshire. I will also be seeking a timescale for when local motorists can expect work to commence.
Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson, Alison McInnes MSP said: “I welcome this announcement that should result in a civil engineering company being appointed by this spring to take the work forward, giving much needed improvement to one of our major routes.
“However, the issues regarding the A96 at the bottlenecked Inveramsay Bridge are not new, and it is only the hard work of local Liberal Democrats that has put this project on the agenda and kept it there. The go ahead for the Inveramsay Bridge is long overdue.