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Scotland's transport minister to be pressed by MSP Fergus Ewing on timeline for Nairn bypass

By Val Sweeney

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The campaign for a bypass to alleviate traffic in Nairn is growing in momentum.
The campaign for a bypass to alleviate traffic in Nairn is growing in momentum.

Scotland’s transport minister is to be pressed on a timeline for the long-awaited Nairn bypass as the campaign for action is stepped up.

Inverness and Nairn MSP Fergus Ewing is in the process of arranging a meeting with the minister, repeating previous assertions that Nairn must no longer be the “Cinderella” of investment.

It comes as HiTrans, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, has added its voice to growing calls for action following the launch of the Inverness Courier’s Build the Bypass campaign to ensure the Inverness to Auldearn section of the A96 is not forgotten by the Scottish Government.

Mr Ewing said: “The campaign for the Nairn bypass has received the massive boost of being backed by the Inverness Courier.

“Now Hitrans have added their endorsement. Momentum is building.

“I’m meeting the Transport Minister and will further press the need to give clear timelines to issue made orders with no further delay and to proceed to the procurement stage.

“Nairn must cease to be the ‘Cinderella’ of investment and the welcome commitments from Humza Yousaf must be converted into action.”

His remarks came after he asked Deputy First Minister Shona Robison what he said was a “simple question” in the Scottish Parliament last week – “By what year will the construction of the Nairn bypass be completed?”

While she insisted “we’re fully committed to making improvements to the A96 and that of course includes dualling the Inverness to Nairn section, including the Nairn Bypass” and said that Transport Scotland “continues to progress a significant amount of work required to prepare for publication of made orders” she singularly failed to provide a date.

Mr Ewing said: “It suggests that there is no plan and raises questions about why the numerous delays have occurred.

“I shall continue to press the Scottish Government to deliver their aged promises.”

HiTrans is also urging the Scottish Government to swiftly implement the commitments it has made to upgrade the A96 Inverness-Aberdeen road – advocating that the Nairn bypass, along with others for Elgin and Keith, should be dual carriageway.

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