Work to remove a notorious bottleneck on the main Aberdeen-Inverness route is expected to start next year, subject to the successful completion of the statutory process.
Transport Scotland has published the made orders for the £11 million Inveramsay Bridge improvements scheme confirming the final line the new road will take.
The scheme is expected to be completed in early 2016.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “Inveramsay Bridge is a notorious bottleneck on one of the north east’s busiest roads and the Scottish Government is committed to removing the traffic lights that have affected road users travelling on this stretch of the A96 for many years.
“The publication of Road Orders is a clear signal of our determination to deliver this important scheme with advance works on site expected to start before the end of 2014.
“We have been working closely with our partners in the rail industry to find a solution to what is a complex engineering task which will need a new bridge to take over a mile of new road over the existing railway. At present the road travels under the railway and is restricted to one-way traffic with signals because of the narrowness of the railway bridge. Prior to this the bridge was, prone to being hit by larger vehicles which often caused closures and delays.
“The result when finished though will be felt by all who use the road through improved journey times and journey time reliability and reduce congestion on one of the key routes in the north of Scotland.”