Scottish transport minister Graeme Dey has announced the opening of the £96m A9 Dualling Luncarty to Pass of Birnam project.
All traffic management including lane and speed restrictions will be removed ‘in a phased manner’ over the weekend, allowing road users access to the 9.5 km of new dual carriageway between Luncarty, north of Perth, and the Pass of Birnam by Monday (30 August).
The scheme is the second section of the A9 Dualling Programme to be constructed as part of the Scottish Government’s £3bn commitment to dual 129 km of the A9 between Perth and Inverness.
Last week Transport Scotland published the contract notice for the £115m Tomatin to Moy project, the most northerly section of the A9 programme, as the SNP administration agreed a deal with the Scottish Green Party that left the whole programme intact.
The opening of this section, the most southerly section of the dualling programme, to four lanes of traffic now provides 15 km of continuous dual carriageway from Inveralmond Roundabout to Birnam for the first time.
Mr Dey said the new section of road ‘will bring tremendous benefits - improving connectivity between the Highlands and Islands and Scotland’s central belt, delivering far reaching benefits to the wider Scottish economy’.
He said: ‘The opening of this major infrastructure project will improve road safety, journey times and journey reliability for the millions of road users that use this strategic route north each year.
‘In addition, this vastly improved route will help stimulate the economic recovery of the north of Scotland following the pandemic, mitigate the impacts of Brexit, support businesses, communities and tourism throughout Scotland by improving access to and from the Highlands and Islands.’
Main construction works on the scheme began in February 2019, following the appointment of Balfour Beatty as the main contractor in September 2018.
The project involved the construction of four new bridges over the A9 and the removal of all direct accesses to the A9 carriageway. Transport Scotland said these measures have improved the safety of the route and will reduce driver frustration and stress by providing more opportunity to overtake safely.
Balfour Beatty contract manager Alan Brisbane said: ‘We are extremely proud to have delivered this major infrastructure milestone for Scotland, which will not only stimulate the local economy, but also improve safety and reliability for road users.
‘Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our expert team remained focused throughout, with our attention now turning to landscaping and associated works, in the coming months.'
Over the next few months, Balfour Beatty will continue to undertake finishing and landscaping works, which may require traffic management. The project is expected to be completed in Winter 2021.