A CONTRACTOR has been appointed to study the environmental impacts of upgrading 86 miles of the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road to dual carriageway, it was announced today.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment will be carried by Halcrow at a cost of £130,000 as part of proposals by the Scottish Government to complete the dualling scheme by 2030.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “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.”
Keith Brown, the Scottish Transport Minister, 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.”
He continued: “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.”
Mr Brown added: “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.”