On Wednesday the 8th of this month there will be two Community Council meetings that will discuss the proposed dualling of the A96 and all the various options that appeared as a multitude of lines on the map at the Transport Scotland exhibition held in the Golf View in November.
River Community Council will be meeting in the town to formulate their response to the routes and likewise their counterparts in Auldearn will also have a meeting to decide which route is to be their preference. It is quite obvious that the eventual bypass route will not please everybody but out at Auldearn the options seem to have pleased nobody so far, with choices that even bypass the existing bypass shown on the map. There are also considerable practicalities for the lives of people in the village that the options may cause too, this was illustrated in the Gurn article “"No buses for Auldearn?It’s certainly a frightening possibility" - says our Gurnshire Eastcorrespondent”
We have, for the first time, a government in Holyrood that has promised a dual carriageway between
Inverness and and also the same for the
A9 up to Aberdeen Inverness and furthermore, it appears that Nairn could be first in
the queue when construction starts. There are many in Nairn, perhaps the
majority, that feel that a Nairn bypass is still the stuff of fantasy; albeit a
very nice fantasy which came bundled with the trimmings of lots of well
produced maps and polite and knowledgeable Transport Scotland receiving the
population in a local hotel; with the Highland media corps devouring the
occasion too. Some feel it could take years to resolve the issue of the final
line for the dual carriageway. Other
observers will stress that they fail to see where the money will come from
regardless of the outcome of 2014 either with continued rule from Westminster
(they still plan billions of pounds worth of cuts) or in an independent
Scotland – what would be the complexion and the priorities of the first
government post a winning YES vote?
The permutations are many but of course it is very real for those whose homes and land are in the vicinity of the options and a week today many of them will be in Dunbar Memorial Hall in Auldearn to have their say. Could it be that organised opposition will emerge to some of the proposals to the extent that the Scottish Government will have a fight on its hands to proceed through the parish of Auldearn with a dual carriageway?
Meanwhile in the town, there will probably be a different set of priorities displayed by residents who have long campaigned for a bypass and may worry less about the eventual line. Some commentators seem to wish for a bypass that goes as far south as possible to allow for expansion of the town. Out of sight out of mind?
“It’ll never happen in my lifetime” is still a regular mantra but the lines have appeared on the map and it affects real people’s lives in real time. It can’t be much fun waiting for an indeterminate period of months or years to see if a dual carriageway will be going past your front door. The dualling and the A96 bypass will be a topic that will crop up often in 2014 and 2015, 2016 and perhaps even way, way beyond that.