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Drilling works for Nairn Bypass commence.
As a further sign of progress in delivering the Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) scheme, ground investigations will get underway today. Only six out of over 650 drilling locations along the route during the 20 week work period will require traffic management on the existing A96, keeping disruption to a minimum.
The work will provide vital ground condition information for engineers designing the new route.
Keith Brown Cabinet Secretary for infrastructure, Investment and Cities said:
"We are committed to dualling the whole of the A96 which links the northern cities of Inverness and Aberdeen. The work on this road scheme is moving apace with draft orders expected to be published later this year.
"Having recently let locals and road users see proposed changes to the preferred option for this scheme, we are now stepping up the work with ground investigations taking place along the route to help inform the final design. The work is essential but we want to avoid impact on road users where we can, so I am pleased the vast majority, over 99%, of the ground investigation work will take place away from the A96, ensuring the need for traffic management is kept to an absolute minimum.
"Hand in hand with this scheme, we are taking forward our plans for the 29 mile western section between Hardmuir and Fochabers with four well respected engineering consultancies or joint ventures in the running for the £50 million design contract. We hope to award this contract later this spring.
"With these plans for upgrading the route between Scotland's two most northerly cities and our ambitious plans to dual the A9, we are working to connect Scotland's cities, bringing safer and more reliable journeys for anyone travelling on these two major trunk roads."
Only 6 of the over 650 locations for the ground investigations works will be on the carriageway of the A96 and will require traffic management. The remainder of the locations are outwith the carriageway and no further traffic management will be necessary on the A96 for these works. As a result of the predominantly offline works, any traffic disruption on the road is expected to be kept to a minimum.
The contractor will closely monitor the operation of the traffic management when it is required to ensure that delays are kept to a minimum.
The traffic management arrangements will include relatively short alternate single file traffic sections controlled by temporary traffic signals.
When planning their journeys road users are encouraged to visit the Traffic Scotland website at www.trafficscotland.org
Details of the A96 Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) scheme can be found at: http://www.transport.gov.scot/project/a96-inverness-nairn-including-nairn-bypass
Details of the wider A96 Dualling programme can be found at: http://www.transport.gov.scot/project/a96-dualling-inverness-aberdeen