A9 dualling moves forward as Greens sign up to road building

23/08/2021

The Scottish Government is seeking a main contractor for the next stage of the A9 Perth to Inverness dualling as a landmark agreement between the SNP administration and the Scottish Green Party left the country’s two main roadbuilding schemes, costed at £3bn each, largely untouched.

Transport Scotland has published the contract notice for the £115m A9 Dualling: Tomatin to Moy project, the most northerly section of the Scottish Government’s £3bn programme to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness.

It said the contract for the works, which will create nearly 20 miles of continuous dual carriageway south of Inverness, will be awarded ‘in the second half of 2022’.

Minister for transport Graeme Dey said the project will ‘set out new aspirations for carbon reduction in construction’ and ‘help deliver our shared vision for Scotland - a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system, helping deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities, businesses and visitors’.

The news coincided with the publication of a draft agreement under which the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party Parliamentary Group agreed to work together over the next five years ‘to build a green economic recovery from COVID, respond to the climate emergency and create a fairer country’.

In relation to plans, also costed at £3bn, to dual the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen, the agreement commits to the Inverness to Nairn section.

In states: ‘The current plan is to fully dual the A96 route between Inverness and Aberdeen. We agree to conduct a transparent, evidence-based review to include a climate compatibility assessment to assess direct and indirect impacts on the climate and the environment. This will report by the end of 2022.’

A ‘transport enhancements programme on the A96 corridor that improves connectivity between surrounding towns, tackles congestion and addresses safety and environmental issues’ will also include:

  • bypassing of Nairn, Keith, Elgin and Inverurie accompanied by measures to remove through traffic from the by-passed town centres
  • targeted road safety improvements where needed, for example between Fochabers and Huntly and Inverurie to Aberdeen
  • the development of an A96 'Electric Highway'.

The agreement does not mention of the A9 dualling project directly but the parties have agreed that ‘work on other trunk roads projects and programmes under construction, design, development or procurement will continue and be subject to the normal statutory assessment and business case processes’.

In addition, the parties have agreed that

  • local authorities will be encouraged to deliver more Safe to School initiatives, with the aim of ensuring every child who lives within two miles of school is able to walk or wheel safely.
  • all appropriate roads in built-up areas will have a speed limit of 20 mph by 2025.
  • Transport Scotland will work with Police Scotland to develop a one-year pilot project to develop an online reporting system enabling anyone to upload camera footage of dangerous driving.

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