One of the first items to be discussed in matters arising earlier tonight (Wednesday) at the Auldearn Community Council meeting was the proposed Nairn bypass. Roger Milton said:
“It does have a particular relevance for the village because I think a lot of people have been assuming that there is a more or less determined path for that by now. When it’s happening is an entirely different matter but certainly I think there has been some new thoughts about the route of the bypass, even taking in part of the village on the south side rather than joining the A96 at Achnacloich which I think is what people have always made an assumption about. Previously there has certainly been investigation about the road as, I say, traveling to the south of us here and joining onto the Forres Road.”
Roger then urged those in attendance to attend the forthcoming bypass and A96 dualling consultation organized for November in Nairn.
Cllr Colin MacAulay then spoke: “Things have shifted, they really are talking strategically, linking Inverness with Aberdeen. It’s not about a Nairn bypass – it is about a strategic dual carriageway all the way from Inverness to Aberdeen so there is a communication link across that part of Scotland. There will be two or three routes because I know they have kind of looked at that and it is about what is the best route for us and making sure that take that on board. We had a meeting with Transport Scotland today and they are also keen that the Nairn bypass will probably be the main bypass through to whatever that would be on the east edge of Inverness, it’s the early section that is built on the new A96. They’re emphasising it’s a new A96, the old A96 is not up to the standard of just widening and just adding another new dual carriageway.”
Roger then asked: “So it will have a radical influence on villages that have been previously on that road?”
“Absolutely,” replied Colin.
A member of the public had another question: “So we are talking about a completely new road?”
“There will be bits and pieces where they do use the old road where that makes sense. Clearly there will be improved stretches but by and large we are talking about looking at basically a brand new road. Whether that is north or south of the existing A96 will depend, I suppose, on a whole range of factors,” explained Colin who then went on to add a warning. “From that perspective what I wouldn’t want is an Aberdeen bypass type situation where people are still arguing ten or twenty years down the road before there is a kind consensus on that. I really hope we see a line, there’s a sensible one that stands out as the best and we go for that.”