Work has started on the first leg of the largest transport project in Scotland’s history – the £3bn A9 Perth to Inverness dualling programme.
Road safety issues have beset this key route through central Scotland up to the Highlands for years and the plan to upgrade 80 miles of the highway by 2025 is designed to improve safety while also delivering economic benefits.
This week saw work start on the first leg, a £35m contract on the Kincraig to Dalraddy section, which includes dualling a five-mile stretch of single carriageway.
Minister Keith Brown at the launch of the A9 dualling works
The work is scheduled to be complete by 2017 and will be carried out by a joint venture of Wills Bros Civil Engineering and John Paul Construction.
Cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities, Keith Brown, said: ‘With the official opening of the Borders Railway and now the ground-breaking of work on the A9 this has been a historic week for transport infrastructure in Scotland.
‘Shorter-term safety improvements for the A9 are already delivering positive benefits for the safety of the route, with preparation work on further dualling work also now starting to bear real fruit.'
To give an idea of the size of the total scheme, the Kincraig section alone requires more than 700,000 tonnes of excavation and will see over 18 hectares of new road carriageway laid, the equivalent of 25 full size football pitches.
From Monday 21 September traffic management will be in place on the A9 between Kincraig and Dalraddy with a 40mph speed restriction in operation.
Average speed cameras will be in operation on the A9 to enforce the reduced speed limit and to ensure a safe environment for drivers and road workers.