IT WILL be 12 to 18 months before potential corridors for dual carriageway bypasses for Elgin and Keith are identified.
Roads chiefs have started a preliminary engineering report on the A96 dualling programme between Inverness and Aberdeen.
At the end of that initial process more than one potential bypass line could be considered for the Moray towns, councillors were told.
It will only be after the second stage of the project, which will include widespread consultation, when a preferred route is identified.
The Scottish Government has set a target of 2030 for the entire length of the A96 to be dualled.
Officials from Transport Scotland and roads company Jacobs, which is carrying out the engineering report, revealed the timetable to members of Moray Council’s economic development and infrastructure services committee.
It is not clear at what stage Elgin and Keith will be scheduled for work to start.
The dualling of Inverness to Nairn, including a bypass for Nairn, is already at a more advanced stage.
Councillors urged the officials to consider the Elgin and Keith as priority areas in the overall A96 project.
For more on this story see ‘The Northern Scot’ print version on Friday.