The Mott MacDonald Sweco joint venture (MMS JV) has been appointed by Transport Scotland to carry out route option assessment and detailed design work for the dualling of the A96 between Hardmuir and Fochabers. The new 29 mile stretch of the road will provide users with improved journey times, reliability and safety, with better connectivity between two of Scotland's economic hubs, Inverness and Aberdeen.
In 2011, the Scottish Government published its Infrastructure Investment Plan which set out its strategy for infrastructure investment over the coming decades, explaining why infrastructure is seen as a key driver for both short and long-term economic growth. To support this ambition the government has committed to completing the dualling of the road network between Scotland's cities, which includes 86 miles of the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen, by 2030. The Hardmuir to Fochabers section of the road consists mainly of single lane carriageway which passes through or close to various towns and villages. Regular bottlenecks occur which leads to traffic congestion and disruption.
MMS JV will begin design and assessment work this summer, with the route options assessment process expected to take up to two years to complete. There will be a number of grade separated junctions along the length of the new road where bypasses are created for a number of communities, such as Forres and Elgin. There will also be crossings of the River Findhorn, the River Lossie and the River Spey, as well as the Aberdeen to Inverness rail line.
Commenting on the appointment, MMS JV contract director Iain Scott, said: "This is a fantastic win for Mott MacDonald Sweco reinforcing our commitment to developing Scotland's infrastructure. It builds on our long established collaborative relationship with Transport Scotland."
The MMS JV was established in 2010 bringing together Mott MacDonald's and Sweco's (formerly Grontmij) broad cross-sector experience of delivering major infrastructure programmes. It successfully supports Highways England on a number of road improvement schemes as part of the project support and collaborative delivery frameworks and is also part of Transport Scotland's multiple framework agreement for engineering and transportation consultancy services. The JV has been involved in the improvement works around junction 10 of the M20 motorway in Kent, the introduction of smart motorway on the M5 in the Midlands, the A63 Castle Street improvement scheme in Hull and the A160/A180 Port of Immingham improvement scheme in Grimsby amongst others.