A project which could transform one of the north-east’s key routes has taken a major step forward after the preferred route was announced.
Transport Scotland – the transport arm of the Scottish Government – has published its favoured option for the dualling of the A96 between Huntly and Aberdeen.
Based on the options which were put forward, the new road would consist of the cyan route option between east of Huntly and Colpy, the pink route option between Colpy and Pitcaple and the orange route option between Pitcaple and Kintore.
At Kintore, the road would join up with the existing route.
The new A96 would deviate significantly from the current road in some places, particularly between Kellockbank and Pitscurry, as well as around Inverurie.
In total, the project would be 22 miles long with six grade-separated junctions and crossings over the River Don, River Urie and the Aberdeen-Inverness railway.
Scottish Government transport minister Michael Matheson said: “We are continuing to progress our ambitious plans to dual the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen, delivering around 88 miles of upgraded road.
“As part of that programme, we have been taking forward the route option assessment work for the section of the A96 to be dualled between east of Huntly and Aberdeen and we are now able to let the public see the preferred option for this scheme.
“Following detailed assessment work and consideration of feedback received throughout the design development process, we have identified a preferred option which will include improved journey time and reliability for all trunk road traffic, improve road safety and provide opportunities for active travel.
“It will also provide better transport connections to Aberdeen city and between communities in Aberdeenshire as well as the wider strategic transport network.
“We are keen to let locals and road users have their say on our proposals and I would encourage anyone interested in our plans to view the virtual exhibition and give us their views.
“As we develop the preferred option in greater detail, individuals, communities and businesses affected by the work will be kept fully informed and their vital feedback taken into account.”
A virtual exhibition has been launched, where members of the public can view and comment on the plans.