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Forres Footpaths Trust suggest Transport Scotland rethink walk and cycle route by dualled A96

By Garry McCartney

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Transport Scotland’s aerial view of the proposed A96 dual carriageway at Forres, looking north-east, includes a foot and cycle path on the north side.
Transport Scotland’s aerial view of the proposed A96 dual carriageway at Forres, looking north-east, includes a foot and cycle path on the north side.

TRANSPORT Scotland is considering suggestions from a local group regarding the planned dualled A96.

Forres Footpaths Trust (FFT) want to see an aligning foot and cycle route partly follow existing paths in the town instead of hugging the major road for the majority of the local section.

FFT chairman Wils Metcalfe confirmed the group had submitted their suggestions having attended the national transport agency's public consultation at Forres Town Hall in October.

He said: "The route proposed maps the suggested Non Motorised User (NMU) routes and included how they would be aligned with the dual carriageway.

"We felt that there was a lack of logic in the proposed NMU route into Forres from the western side as it only left the dual carriageway when north of the town.

"We believe it would be shorter and more natural to leave the dual carriageway at the proposed Forres West Junction by the River Findhorn Bridge and the work should instead improve the current paths into town. This would bring the NMU-users from the west directly into town and for those walking or cycling to work a more direct route to the stores and industrial sites."

FFT's other concern that for many miles Transport Scotland's proposed path would run close beside the dual carriageway.

"This closeness to large amounts of high speed traffic, particularly trucks, would be an unpleasant experience," said Mr Metcalfe. "It would deter people from using these routes, especially for recreational walking.

"We suggested that the routing should take this into consideration with the possibility of creating them alongside the current A96 route as this would be much quieter."

FFT's comments were forwarded to the Moray Local Access Forum and included in the submission by the Moray Council access officer.

Transport Scotland confirmed the suggestions are being considered.

A spokesman said: "Following our public engagement events, members of the public and other stakeholders provided their feedback on the Hardmuir to Fochabers scheme design including our proposals for the shared-use path, which will improve active travel facilities along the route.

"We continue to develop our design in line with this feedback and the ongoing engineering, environmental, traffic and economic assessments."

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