The trunk roads through the north east, the A90 and the A96, are managed and maintained by Transport Scotland under licence to BEAR Scotland.
Nestrans champions the case for improvements to the strategic road network, which provides vital links not just for car drivers, but also for bus services and freight.
A92/A96 Haudagain Improvements
In 2008, Nestrans commissioned a study using Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) to identify options to improve traffic flow at the Haudagain roundabout. Transport Scotland announced on 11 January 2019 that Farrans Construction had been
awarded the construction contract to deliver the A92/A96 Haudagain Improvement. After a managed shut down in 2020 due to Covid-19, construction work restarted gradually. On 31 August 2020 the next phase to construct the two key junctions either end of the new link road to bypass the Haudagain roundabout commenced and notification was given that this may require a number of traffic restrictions to be in place on the A92 and A96 in the vicinity of the Haudagain Roundabout including contraflows, lane closures and speed restrictions. Full details of planned traffic management and works, including local traffic management and changes to bus services can be viewed on the A92/A96 Haudagain Improvement project page of the Transport Scotland website.
A90 Laurencekirk Junction Improvement Scheme
In January 2016, the Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown, as part of the additional funding associated with the City Region Deal, announced £24million of funding from future Scottish government budgets over the next five to ten years to take forward the design and construction of a grade separated junction on the A90 at Laurencekirk. Transport Scotland appointed Amey in September 2016 to undertake route option assessment work and develop a preferred junction option, leading to the preparation of draft road Orders. The draft Orders and an Environmental Impact Assessment Report were published in December 2019 and a public exhibition held in Laurencekirk in January 2020. The statutory consultation period closed in February 2020. A small
number of statutory objections were received, primarily in relation to loss of land and access arrangements and Transport Scotland and their consultant team are understood to be continuing to negotiate with these parties and assess options to resolve access issues, with a view to progressing the scheme without the need for a Public Local Inquiry.
A96 Dualling Aberdeen to Inverness
The Scottish Government’s Infrastructure and Investment Plan set out the aim to dual the A96 (T) between Aberdeen and Inverness by 2030.
AmeyArup was appointed by Transport Scotland in July 2017 to take forward the route options development and assessment work on the section of the A96 East of Huntly to Aberdeen. Following a series of public events in October 2018 on the initial route options, further engagement took place on a smaller number of revised options in May 2019 with the intention that they could then be subject to detailed assessment and a preferred route option announced by end 2019. The work however continued into 2020 and Transport Scotland published design updates in October 2020 as a result of changes to previously presented junction proposals. A supplementary study investigating varying standards of online dualling through Inverurie was also published in October 2020 and concluded that this option performed poorly against a number of the scheme objectives and would not be taken forward through the DMRB Stage 2 assessment process. The preferred option was announced on 21 Dec 2020 and a virtual consultation was launched which ran until early March.
Nestrans has continued to attend stakeholder group meetings on the project and represented North East interests as appropriate.
Ensuring these roads are maintained and improved to meet the needs of the north east is a key element of the Regional Transport Strategy (RTS). Other major routes in the Nestrans area are the responsibility of the 2 local authorities. Local road improvements are not specifically included in the RTS although in many cases these projects provide benefit to the strategic road network and contribute towards strategic objectives. In such instances, Nestrans will support local authorities in bringing forward projects through their Local Transport Strategies.