The team behind the A96 dualling project for Transport Scotland held a briefing meeting for community councils this afternoon at the Garioch Centre.
The team outlined the process which had taken the project to this stage with the proposed corridors for the section of the A96 from Colpy to Aberdeen.
After setting the scenes the team turned to the details of the proposed routes. For legal reasons (the maps are copyright) we are not able to publish the route map (seen above) here, but you can download a PDF of the leaflet with the map
The team seemed to acknowledge that the blue-green-violet route would be longer and would also have a considerable impact on agriculture.
But, it is clear that one of the attractions of the northern routes, like the blue-green-violet route, is that it would open up land on the north side of Inverurie for development. Similarly, the team explained, that the orange route would open up new land to the south west for development.
One of the routes dropped before this stage in the consultation was Option Q, which had quite wide support, notably within Aberdeenshire Council. Option Q had the A96 heading from Colpy across to Oldmeldrum and, from there, into Aberdeen on the route of the A947. The team explained it was dropped because it “did not comply with the design objectives”.
One of the speakers said it was not believed that enough traffic would transfer over to the A947 corridor to justify upgrading that route to trunk road status.
Surprisingly, though it appears that there is a belief that traffic would be willing to switch the other way. As you can see on this PDF
, Aberdeenshire Council is among those who believe that a junction near Lochter on the blue-green-violet route, would prove sufficiently attractive for A947 traffic to leave that road and join with A96 traffic to drive into Aberdeen via Kintore.
It seems clear that many are wondering why the road cannot be dualled on the existing Inverurie bypass route.
The team said that even with the use of retaining walls, this corridor was no longer wide enough for the A96 dualling project. One of the parameters for the design team and consultants is that there is to be no demolition involved and that, they say, makes the existing bypass route impossible.
One of the community council representatives asked about the balance between demolition of property and destruction of farmland. While it was acknowledged as a valid question, the team were adamant that there was an absolute ruling about no demolition to make way for the road.
Turning to the issue of most concern to many in Kintore, the team said they are liaising with Aberdeenshire Council and with SEPA and using their modelling to work on the flooding risk associated with the large bridge that would take the traffic across the River Don flood plain at Tavelty.
It suggested the size of the bridge meant it would have to be a viaduct, with some piers on the flood plain, but additional flood plain space would compensate.
Transport Scotland is looking for public comments on the proposed routes. These have to be submitted by November 22, 2018.
Send your comments by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
, or by post to: A96 Dualling Team, Transport Scotland, Buchanan House, 58 Port Dundas Road, Glasgow G4 0HF (Include, your name, address and postcode). Or you can fill in and return this response form
- The A96 Action team, who oppose the blue-green-violet route, are holding a drop-in session to help people submit their comments. It is on Sunday in Kintore Public Hall between 6.45pm and 9pm.
- An independent expert has estimated the blue-green-violet route would result in the loss of 1,769 acres of quality farmland, 63 farms split and an annual £760,000 agriculture output loss to the economy.