By Kenneth Hutchison
LOCAL businesses and politicians have welcomed the much-anticipated announcement that the dual carriageway between Balmedie and Aberdeen will be extended all the way to Ellon.
Transport Minister Keith Brown announced that the project will go ahead on Thursday, after years of waiting by commuters.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: ““I’m delighted the SNP Government have taken the decision to make the much needed improvements to one of the key transport corridors in the north east. This project, once completed, will result in improved and more reliable journey times and improved safety for anyone using the A90 north of Aberdeen.
“”The local community have been pressing for this upgrade for a number of years and today’s announcement will see the removal of the bottleneck caused by the existing single carriageway.
““After years of inaction by the previous Labour-Liberal administration, it has taken the SNP in Government to get progress on this vital transport project and the folk of Gordon and the north east are set to benefit.””
Ellon and District Councillor Rob Merson also welcomed the announcement, saying: “I am absolutely delighted that the SNP Government has delivered on yet another election promise. As a resident of Ellon for 35 years, I am well aware of the importance of the road link to Aberdeen, and journey times will be improved for travellers across North Aberdeenshire. Once the legal challenge to the AWPR project has been overcome, the people of the North east of Scotland might at last look forward to having the roads infrastructure which they ought to have had thirty years ago.”
Local business groups also welcomed the announcement, with Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s Bob Collier describing the news as “welcome news.”
“The dualling of this stretch of road is one of the priorities of the Chamber’s on-going Transport campaign as the improvements are crucial in order to tackle congestion, reduce journey times for commuters and improve safety for motorists,” he said.
Democratic Independent Councillor Debra Storr welcomed the proposal, however added that the delays to the project would mean higher costs and a long wait before the project finally materialises.
“By deciding to parcel this work in with the AWPR, the SNP have delayed this work until probably 2015 whereas as a stand alone project it could have started earlier. Construction firms want the work now, and bids for building work are very competitive at present. Waiting for 4 years risks higher bids, when the economy has recovered and other work is available.
“The SNP’s announcement seems to be more to do with the forthcoming Holyrood election than anything else.”