The thorny issue of the preferred route between Inverurie and Huntly as part of the Scottish Government’s planned dualling of the A96 was debated by councillors on Thursday.
In its agreed statement to Transport Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastucture Services Committee (ISC) confirmed its strategic preference for route options to the north-east of Inverurie having seen its preferred Option Q route discarded by the roads authority.
The council will now advise Transport Scotland that it considers that the “greatest strategic benefits” for the area can be achieved by pursuing route options that run to north-east of Inverurie.
That option, it states, will relieve traffic pressure in Inverurie by enabling businesses and households in the Oldmeldrum, Rothienorman and Uryside catchment areas to access the trunk road network without having to pass through the town centre.
A north-east route would also facilitate the future development of Inverurie and its town centre, provide opportunities to aid economic development associated with enhanced access to the strategic road network for communities and businesses to the north and north-east of the current A96 and A947 corridors and help development opportunities in the Oldmeldrum area, and further to the north.
It has also reiterated the importance of further proactive, meaningful and early engagement with officers, councillor, communities and stakeholders.
The ISC also considered comment from the council’s area committees prior to making its decision.
Garioch Area Committee noted a preference for the route to be as close as possible to the current alignment of the A96 as this was felt to be the least disruptive option.
It also noted concerns regarding the option in relation to splitting the communities of Whiteford and Durno, and asked that provision of necessary supporting infrastructure for active travel is delivered.