Battle over A9 Cairngorms cycleway takes a new turn
Long time community calls for a non-motorised user path to run by the proposed dualled A9 between Aviemore and Carrbridge are to be heard at a Public Local Inquiry next month.
There has been anger at Transport Scotland’s ongoing refusal to include the pathway for pedestrians and cyclists along with the project adjacent to the arterial road.
The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), Highland Council and three community councils in the strath have now triggered the inquiry by objecting to the Dalraddy-Slochd dualling plans.
The hearing will take place at The Boat Hotel in Boat of Garten and is scheduled to run from March 9 to 13 although it may not take all five days. The Reporter’s findings will then be submitted to Scottish ministers for a final decision.
A Highland Council spokesperson said: “Both the Cairngorms National Park Authority – as access authority in this instance as this part of the scheme – and Highland Council have objected due to the failure of the promoter to include a route for non-motorised users between Aviemore and Carrbridge.
"The council is of the view that failure to include this is contrary to the objectives of the scheme and the National Transport Strategy.
"The Reporter has ruled that this matter is within the scope of her inquiry and therefore these objections will be considered by her when she submits her report on the scheme to Scottish Ministers."
CNPA chief executive Grant Moir said: “The CNPA has made clear that if a commitment was made to deliver a multi-use path between Aviemore and Carrbridge then it would withdraw its objection.”
A path runs alongside the first stretch of completed A9 dualling from Dalraddy to Kincraig.
Two non-motorised user (NMU) path options away from the A9 were put out to consultation by Transport Scotland last autumn:
A 9.9k route along the B9152, A95, and B9153.
A 15.7k route along the B9152, National Cycle Network 7 (NCN7), a private estate access road, A95 and B9153.
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “We held option exhibitions last autumn when local communities and road users were shown two proposed routes. This work was undertaken as separate to the A9 dualling but was led by Transport Scotland to support local aspirations for a shared use NMU facility. The CNPA now wish to discuss the merits of a facility parallel to the A9 as part of the forthcoming inquiry. Neither of the recently exhibited routes run parallel to the A9.
“The study work is currently awaiting the outcome of the inquiry before further design work can take place and a preferred NMU route can be identified.
She continued: “The Scottish Government has maintained the record levels of funding for active travel this year, investing £73.1 million capital on ambitious on and off-road segregated walking and cycling routes, safer junctions and improved design of place....
“It is entirely normal for a scheme of this complexity to be considered at Public Local Inquiry which is the appropriate forum for considering objections received but not withdrawn.”
The inquiry will start at 10am on March 9.