TRANSPORT Scotland have announced the award of a major contract as part of the long awaited dualling of the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road.
Halcrow has been appointed to undertake Strategic Environmental Assessment work for dualling approximately 86 miles of the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen.
Transport Scotland say that the £130,000 contract will assess the potential environmental impacts of the dualling programme at an early stage in its development and help identify ways to avoid or reduce these.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said, “This £3 billion complex and challenging programme will be one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Scotland’s history and will ensure safer roads, less congestion and a better quality of life for road users and local communities.
“This commitment will deliver major economic benefits to road users, businesses, communities and industry who live along or use this important route between Scotland’s two northernmost cities.
“The environmental assessment work due to get underway later this month will give Transport Scotland a much fuller understanding of the route and along with the ongoing Preliminary Engineering Services (PES) work will help set the foundations for the detailed design.
“Along with the more advanced A9 Dualling programme, this ambitious project is further evidence of the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting the economy by competently delivering major infrastructure projects.”
“As for all major infrastructure projects, Transport Scotland is committed to engaging with affected communities and businesses through a programme of consultation. As part of this we intend to hold public exhibitions later this year in venues along the route.
“This is an opportunity to share our understanding of the challenges we face and ensure we have a good local input right from the outset of the A96 dualling programme.”
The news comes after URS were appointed earlier this year to carry out consultation work on improvements to the notorious Inveramsay Bridge. Public consultations were held in Huntly and at Inverurie’s Acorn Centre in April.