Designed to address traffic congestion, the A96 Fochabers and Mosstodloch Bypass is a new 5 km single carriageway trunk road being built in a £31.5 million scheme on the main A96 route between Aberdeen and Inverness.
In addition to the construction of the road, the project includes: the construction of roundabouts to provide local access to both towns, the Baxters factory and the A98 road to Fraserburgh; the improvement of pedestrian and cycle links including the construction of a number of underpasses to provide safe crossing points for school pupils travelling from Mosstodloch to the primary and high schools in Fochabers; improved overtaking opportunities in both directions of travel, and the installation of CCTV cameras near Inchberry Road, which will be linked to the local police control room.
The project is being carried out for Transport Scotland by Main Contractors Morrison Construction.
The scheme will address the existing congestion that occurs on this stretch of the A96 by providing overtaking opportunities in both directions and separating the through trunk road traffic from the local traffic and pedestrians accessing the two towns.
This will provide environmental improvements to the High Street of Fochabers, reducing noise, traffic congestion and community severance, while improving air quality in this locale. Other benefits include improved overtaking opportunities, improved journey times and reliability and improved safety.
The contract commenced on 23 October 2009, with formal start of siteworks on 2 February 2010, with the Minister for Transport Infrastructure and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson, cutting the first turf. He said: “The A96 Fochabers and Mosstodloch road scheme is another example of our continuing investment in Scotland’s transport infrastructure. This is an essential route in Scotland’s trunk road network, and I’m delighted to personally kick off construction on this vital project.
“When complete, the stretch of new road will improve transport links along the length of this route, help tackle congestion in and around Fochabers and Mosstodloch, as well as bring economic benefits for businesses and communities right across the north.
“The Scottish Government is working tirelessly to deliver improvements across Scotland’s trunk road network and the construction of this section of the main artery between Aberdeen and Inverness, underlines this.”
The scheme has required the diversion of utility apparatus, including telecoms, power and water supplies. The scope of works in this regard was significant and most of these diversions were undertaken early in the programme in advance of the new road works.
The new bypass route is generally separated from the existing road, ‘offline’ over most of its length, to the south of Mosstodloch and to the north of Fochabers. This allows a significant part of the construction works to progress with minimal disruption to the adjoining road traffic and both local communities’ business and social activities.
The bypass follows a route to the south of Mosstodloch, from a new roundabout at Cowfords to the west of the settlement, through Banacoul Wood, crossing the existing Rothes Road, and alongside the old railway whereupon it joins the existing A96 via a new roundabout at Coul Brae east of the town.
After crossing the existing New Fochabers Bridge over the River Spey, on the line of the existing A96, the new bypass follows a route to the north of Fochabers from a new roundabout at Spey Bay Road. From this new roundabout, the bypass routes through the southern extent of the Gordon Castle Estate and links to the A98 road at a further new roundabout to the east of Fochabers; from which it continues to join the existing A96 alignment north east of the caravan park.
The benefits of a trunk road bypass of Fochabers have long been recognised, with Orders made in both the 1950’s and 1970’s, both for a bypass route north of the town.
Preliminary studies for the current scheme were commenced in 1994, identifying a preferred route by 1996. Near the end of 1999 a roads review confirmed the scheme should proceed on this preferred route.
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