Dualling A96

I wonder where Maggie Chapman lives. I know she has worked on the West coast, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. I read she likes exploring Scotland in her leisure time, but does she have any actual experience of daily living using the A96?

From Inverurie to Aberdeen it is a doddle with the dualled road. From Inverurie to Inverness it is very often a nightmare. Being rural, we have to travel far for appointments. For those of us who live a few miles from the A96 corridor public transport becomes complicated and does not join up. When we went to Fochabers institute to look at the proposals being considered for dualling, a man in a suit raised his eyebrows when I said visiting Inverness or Aberdeen were often overnight stays due to the travel time and the congestion at points. Add to that the slow moving work vehicles on our rural roads and it makes it difficult to assess how long it will take us to do the journey.

Hot spots on this corridor are Keith, Elgin and Nairn. At times the traffic can be nose to tail, not moving, and polluting the centres of these towns. At one time a really badly congested place was Fochabers. A bypass was built which not only allows the traffic to flow more freely, it has enabled Fochabers to grow business and is a pleasant place to visit and shop now.

I think the Greens need to slightly shift their stance on roads. The Aberdeen periphery route is an excellent example. Traffic to the Shire and beyond no longer has to congest and pollute the city. Work traffic is no longer costing business money by sitting at roundabouts and lights. We have worked out that the new road has taken 20 to 30 minutes off our journey when going South. That’s a lot of fuel not being burned sitting in traffic.

We need good connectivity between our main centres of population. Think how much easier it would be for an emergency ambulance to transfer from Elgin to Aberdeen. The towns on the route would undoubtably benefit from people shopping and socialising more because they would not be stuck in slow through traffic while getting to parking.I agree new roads need to be well thought out, but you have to take everything into consideration. You simply won’t be able to reduce car travel by as much as the purists would like. This got way out of hand some time ago. Moving jobs to Inverness has resulted in massive expansion in population to the city and surrounding towns and villages. We have to be realistic. The bulk of goods and supplies travels by truck and we need suitable roads to cope.