Design contract awarded for A96 dualling

Transport Scotland has announced a contract worth up to £50 million, to progress the 26-mile eastern section of the A96 dual carriageway between east of Huntly and Aberdeen.

Subject to the mandatory standstill period, Amey Arup Joint Venture will start design work on the project next month.

The contract will include assessing the best route options, including the route in the Kintore area.

A96 Kintore flyover

The A96 Preliminary Engineering Assessment brochure (pdf) shows the initial options for the route. Because the Inverurie by-pass has been allowed to be built up on either side, there is no longer space for a second carriageway on that line. So a new route will have to be found.

For the section in the vicinity of Kintore, the options include:
  • Option C, the most westerly route which would move the A96 to the other side of Thainstone Hill, running in an almost straight line from Blackburn past Insch and on to Huntly. This route is seen as threatening the scenic setting of Bennachie and Save Bennachie are protesting this potential route.
  • On the eastern side there is Option Q, which would take the Aberdeen to Huntly section which would roughly follow the route of the A947 from Dyce to Old Meldrum, then cutting across to the Glens of Foudland.
  • Taking the A96 east over the River Don just north of Kintore to form a new easterly by-pass round Inverurie.
  • Follow the existing A96 dual carriageway to just south of Inverurie, before heading to a new western by-pass past Inverurie.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown explained the contact was part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to dual the Aberdeen to Inverness road by 2030.

“This major design contract marks a further milestone towards the dualling of the A96 with all the investment and improvements that it will bring to local economies right across the north of Scotland,” Mr Brown said.

“Road users will not only enjoy the benefits of improved journey time and reliability, better connectivity between destinations but also, crucially, improved road safety for all those who use this key artery connecting two of Scotland’s economic hubs.

“In addition, this contract will also provide a huge boost for the local and national economy, with the successful bidder securing steady work for years to come and many more opportunities for small and medium enterprises through subcontracted work.”

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