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Design contract notice for the A96 Dualling programme, worth up to £50 million, published today.
Following the award earlier this year of a major design contract worth £30 million for the Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) section of the A96 dualling programme, this contract, worth between £40 and £50 million, covers around 29 miles of the western section of the A96 east of Auldearn to east of Fochabers.
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown said:
"This major contract marks a further milestone towards the dualling of the A96 with all the investment and improvements that will bring to the Highland's and north-east of Scotland.
"The publication of this contract notice marks another significant milestone in a dualling programme that will deliver a number of benefits when completed, including improved journey time and reliability, improved connectivity and improved road safety for all those who use this key artery connecting two of Scotland's economic hubs.
"With the Scottish Government making major infrastructure investment in projects like the A9, new Queensferry Crossing and recently completed Borders Railway, this contract for the A96 further underlines the significant investment we are making in our transport network across Scotland.
"When this contract is awarded early next year, design work for the western section will step up a gear with route option assessment work getting underway. This contract will also provide the successful bidders with steady work for years to come and many more opportunities for small and medium enterprises through subcontracted work, so it will be a boost for the local and national economy.
"With construction of our £3 billion A9 dualling programme having now started – the first government ever to have committed to delivering – combined with our work to dual the A96 will ensure communities across Scotland get the 21st century road network they rightly deserve."
Over 2,000 people took the time to see our early assessment work at public exhibitions in spring, so the continuing public interest in the A96 dualling programme is evident. On the more advanced Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) scheme we are on target to publish draft road Orders in 2016 having identified a preferred option last October.
Further details on the A96 Dualling programme can be found at: http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/project/a96-dualling-inverness-aberdeen