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7 December 2009

Package of works to improve A96 traffic in Elgin unveiled

A series of measures to improve congestion on the A96 through Elgin have been drawn up by Transport Scotland, BEAR Scotland Ltd and The Moray Council.

Road users travelling on the A96 trunk road regularly face delays when driving through Elgin, as the road passes through the town centre which is already heavily populated with local traffic.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson has met with The Moray Council on a number of occasions to discuss how the bottlenecks in Elgin could be resolved.

Following these meetings, Transport Scotland and BEAR Scotland Ltd have developed a package of improvements in association with The Moray Council to ease congestion and improve journey times through the town.

Structural carriageway maintenance of the A96 between Wittet Drive and Oakwood, including resurfacing and improved pedestrian facilities, is already under way.

Other measures planned to be implemented this financial year include:

Removing the splitter island at the A96 near the roundabout at the Tesco superstore and improving road lining on approaches to the roundabout

A consistent 30mph speed limit along the A96 through the town

Banning right turns into North Street

Enforcement of the right turn ban into Ladyhill car park

Installation of a 'toucan' style cycle crossing at Alexandra Road between the roundabouts near Tesco and Halfords

Better use of local roads – such as Reiket Lane for road users travelling south from the east, and Morriston Road for those in the north-west – is also proposed to channel traffic away from the town centre.

Stewart Stevenson said:

"Elgin is one of the key economic drivers in Moray and it is vital the town is served by a safe and reliable transport network.

"Improving accessibility and connectivity to the town will support the economic growth of the whole region and it is important we resolve the conflict between local and through traffic in Elgin.

"I am sure the people of Elgin will welcome Transport Scotland, BEAR Scotland Ltd and The Moray Council working together to resolve these challenges for the benefit of all road users.

"I’m confident road users will see a big difference in a short space of time once this programme of work has been implemented."

Further works to improve the A96 at Morriston Road, North Street, Linkwood Way and Alexandra Road, and the A941 at Lesmurdie Road have also been identified and will be considered as part of both Transport Scotland and The Moray Council’s investment plans.

Councillor John Russell, chairman of Moray Council’s economic development and infrastructure services committee, said:

"Thanks to the Minister for getting all parties together to focus on Elgin’s traffic problems.

"This has involved agreement on baseline traffic data and study of the perceived problem areas along the A96 and A941.

"None of the areas identified for improvement will come as any surprise to motorists travelling in and through Elgin. What is important is that we have reached a common understanding with Transport Scotland about the key areas that need to be addressed.

"Now Moray Council, BEAR and Transport Scotland face common challenges in delivering the agreed improvements within a reasonable timescale."

The resurfacing works at Morriston Road being undertaken by trunk road operating company BEAR Scotland include a carbon management pilot scheme which will measure the materials, energy and waste generated by the project as a whole.

The pilot project seeks to pre-empt the requirements of the Scottish Climate Change Bill for transport bodies to report on the carbon impacts of their operations and activities.

Eddie Ross, Consultancy Manager for BEAR Scotland said:

"Inclusion of this carbon management project underlines our commitment and that of Transport Scotland to tackling the issues of Climate Change and sustainability.

"This will help us to determine methods of introducing real reductions in carbon usage during future construction projects."

The work in Elgin comes in the wake of the appointment of the contractor to construct the Fochabers-Mosstodloch bypass on the A96. Transport Scotland will award the £31.5 million contract to Morrison Construction to build a new 5km stretch of all-purpose single carriageway on the A96, demonstrating the Scottish Government’s commitment to the route.

The A96 is used by around 18,000 motorists each day.

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