The Scottish Government has again sought to reassure the public of its commitment to the £3bn A9 Dualling Perth to Inverness project as it reviews its delivery plan.
Transport Scotland said ministers have given the go-ahead to completing the statutory procedures for four more schemes, with work to prepare Made Orders ‘well underway’ and publication expected over the coming months.
The announcement follows a political row in the Scotland after Highways revealed that the devolved administration appeared to be backing away from a longstanding pledge to complete the project by 2025, and said it is 'taking stock' of how best to deliver it in the light of the new economic environment.
At the end of February, Transport Scotland published Made Orders and a prior information notice for the £115m section between Tomatin and Moy – but said that it was ‘expected that the contract will be awarded in the second half of 2022’.
Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, said: ‘This government remains committed to dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness, one of the biggest transport infrastructure projects in Scotland’s history.
‘Hot on the heels of publishing Made Orders for the most northerly scheme between Tomatin and Moy, we are pushing forward with the necessary preparatory work to progress the publication of Made Orders for four more schemes with a total length of over 35 km.
‘At the same time, to help inform the future delivery plans for the dualling programme, we are engaging with industry representatives to ensure that the remainder of the programme, including these four schemes, is delivered effectively and efficiently.
‘This engagement will balance the considerable benefits of the programme against financial risk and any impacts on local communities. We expect this process to conclude in summer 2021.’
The four schemes given the go ahead to make the orders are:
- Tay Crossing to Ballinluig – 8.2 km
- Pitlochry to Killiecrankie – 6.4 km
- Glen Garry to Dalwhinnie – 9.5 km
- Dalwhinnie to Crubenmore – 11 km
Of 11 sections of the route, one has been completed and one is currently in construction. The status of the other nine is ‘in preparation’.
Transport Scotland said design work for the remaining scheme between Pass of Birnam and Tay Crossing is also continuing following ‘the co-creative process with the local community’ and that it expects to share the preferred option with communities and road users later this year.
It said it also expect Public Local Inquiry Reports to be submitted to ministers for a further three schemes ‘in the coming months’, paving the way for completing the statutory processes for approximately 92% of the programme.