The next milestone is looming in a multi-million pound bid to create an economy-boosting link between Montrose and the country’s main east coast road artery.
However, council bosses have admitted progress has slipped in the drive to whittle down options for the ambitious scheme to link Montrose and the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen dual carriageway, near Brechin.
The search for funding is also continuing after the scheme slipped from the Tay Cities Deal wish-list and the authority has said “all funding opportunities” are being looked at.
The project aims to create what officials have branded a north Angus investment corridor between Montrose and the A90 near Stracathro, opening up land for commercial and housing development.
It is also aimed at supporting continued growth in Montrose by improving infrastructure links to strategic development sites in both the north and south of the town.
Angus Council has already invested heavily in the Montrose south regeneration scheme and Montrose port’s recent selection as the preferred maintenance base of what will be Scotland’s largest windfarm off the coast of the county has buoyed hopes for its future prospects.
The project will examine whether the area around Hill of Stracathro could be the A90 junction point for a heavy goods link to Montrose.
Existing routes incorporated in the scheme would require major upgrades and the scheme would also require to cross or go under the main east coast rail line around Hillside.
Consultants were engaged by Angus Council in July 2017 to look at possible routes for the link, taking in factors including cost, accessibility and risk.
An initial list of almost 20 possible paths for the road to take was reduced to 13 and Angus communities committee councillors have been told the next key marker is the projected April 2020 completion date for the second stage route assessment.
Roads and transportation chief Walter Scott said Stage 1 was completed in May 2019 and identified environmental, engineering, economic and traffic advantages, disadvantages and constraints.
Notices have been issued under the Roads (Scotland) Act to landowners who may be affected by the route options to secure access for engineering and environmental surveys.
Montrose SNP councillor Bill Duff said: “I know there has been some survey work over the last few months by consultants but we met over a year ago to get the options down from 19 to 13 so I look forward to getting an update on where we are with this.”