A congestion-busting bypass will be created around a north town that has become infamous for tailbacks.
Transport bosses have agreed to create the link road around Nairn as part of the massive project to create a new fully dual A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road.
The Scottish Government has now rubber-stamped the proposal, following mounting complaints about traffic frequently becoming log-jammed during peak times in the town.
Inverness and Nairn MSP, Fergus Ewing, is among those who have campaigned for the long-awaited development.
Mr Ewing said: “I am delighted by this news as I have been campaigning for nearly three decades for a bypass for Nairn, and for the much safer dual carriageway links for my constituents.
“So this is great news, especially for the people in Nairn.
“The campaign continues however, until such time as the road is completed and, as a huge project, this will take some time.
“I know that previous bypass projects have taken time to deliver.
“This will provide a substantial improvement both in road safety and fewer casualties but also much improved journeys and travel times for people and for businesses.”
MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Drew Hendry, said: “People living in and around Nairn and those who regularly use the road will know that this is a big moment for them.
“A safer dual carriageway and the associated active travel improvements will make a huge difference to a lot of people.”
But Mr Ewing added: “All of that said, however, I do appreciate that there are constituents who will be impacted by the necessary works for the road.
“Though I believe the bypass for Nairn is much-needed and supported by the overwhelming majority, I am aware that for some this will be unwelcome news.”
The bypass is part of the wider scheme to dual the trunk route between Inverness and Nairn, which has been signed off by ministers.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said the agreement represented a “massive step forward” which “reinforces our commitment to dualling the A96 and investing in the Highlands”.
He added: “This huge milestone for the programme leads the way for other sections of the route to follow as we continue to advance the detailed development and assessment of the preferred options for the Hardmuir to Fochabers and East of Huntly to Aberdeen schemes.”