Two north east politicians have highlighted the need for the A96 dualling process to take into account the impact of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.
Current infrastructure plans for dualling the A96 past Inverurie to Huntly are in place, and a selection of route options are being analysed.
During During Portfolio Questions at Holyrood on Thursday, April 4, Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin requested information on how the impact of the AWPR and the projected impact of dualling the railway line between Inverurie and Dyce, as well as the building of a new station at Kintore, is being analysed and taken into account as part of this process.
Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said: “The feedback on the AWPR to date has been extremely promising and I’m glad to hear that its impact, as well as that of other infrastructure projects in the area, will be taken into account as part of the design for the A96 dualling programme.
“The dualling of the A96 is one of the next phases in transforming our infrastructure and it’s great to see increasing SNP investment in the North-East.
“This is a long-awaited project which promises huge potential for the region and I look forward to its continuing development.”
Meanwhile north east MSP Lewis Macdonald called on ministers to reconsider the shortlisted route options for dualling the A96 at Inverurie, to take into account up-to-date traffic data.
Following a period of settling down of traffic behaviour, a traffic data collection exercise will be undertaken by Transport Scotland and a comparison made between the forecast and actual performance of the project.
The Online Inverurie or OLI option for dualling the existing A96 on the edge of the town was ruled out by Transport Scotland last year.
Lewis Macdonald, speaking after quizzing Transport Secretary Michael Matheson at Holyrood, said: “Taking the Online Inverurie option off the table at this early stage is not only premature, but it is based on data which is seriously out of date.
“I met Michael Matheson last month, to argue that Online Inverurie should be on the shortlist of possible ways of upgrading the A96. I told him how strongly many local people felt about this, because of the impact of building a whole new road north and east of the town.
“He revealed that Transport Scotland has no intention of looking again at the A96 options, despite the fact that they have made their case on the basis of completely out-of-date information.
“Road users from Inverurie and further west know full well that the AWPR has had a major impact on the A96 at Inverurie, which only strengthens the case for upgrading that specific stretch of existing road.
“Ministers must listen to local people on this issue, and base any decisions on up-to-date traffic data. The AWPR has had a significant impact on traffic flows in the area, and it would be a mistake to make multi-million pound decisions about trunk roads in the North East without collecting new data.
“I urge Michael Matheson to address these concerns and ensure that the option of dualling the A96 along its current route at Inverurie is put back on the table.”