COMMUNITIES up and down the A9 are being given the opportunity to have a first look at the proposed dualling designs through a series of public exhibitions kicking off today in Aviemore.
The exhibitions, which take place in a number of venues over the next two weeks, give residents and businesses an opportunity to have their say on a number of assessments carried out to date.
As well as the A9 plans, attendees will also be able to view the initial design for a new underpass at Crubenmore, the preferred route for two A9 dualling sections – Luncarty to Pass of Birnam and Kincraig to Dalraddy – and the design work for the challenging Birnam to Tay Crossing section.
These exhibitions also mark the start of the consultation on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the A9 dualling programme.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “Dualling the A9 has been talked about for a generation but now communities the length of the route can see a vision of the future as these plans go on public display.
“The benefits of a fully dualled A9 are clear - communities and businesses who live along or use this important route will see faster journey times, better journey time reliability and road safety improvements.
“That is why a substantial amount of work has already been taken forward since we set out our ambitious strategy for the £3 billion programme last June, the first Government ever to do so.”
He added: “Just last week our Industry Day attracted an impressive turnout from many of the UK’s biggest design consultancies, a clear demonstration of their interest in our three separate large design contracts and our ambitious plans in general.
“Along the length of the route, preliminary detailed engineering and environmental assessments have allowed us to develop a potential 200 metre wide ‘corridor’ along the line of the existing A9. In addition, 25 possible locations for flyover junctions have also been identified.
“A further positive outcome is the confirmation of a suitable location for an underpass at Crubenmore for walkers, cyclists and equestrians. I am delighted that we will be able to publish draft Orders in 2014, with a view to construction starting in 2017 once the SSE pylon line has been removed.
“The A9 passes through areas which are outstanding in wildlife and landscape terms. That is why it is important that we examine the possible impacts of the programme on the environment. I would urge anyone with an interest to comment on the Strategic Environmental Assessment for the route which we are today publishing for consultation.
“Coupled with the route wide work, we are also progressing design work on three dualling schemes with the preferred routes on show for two of the sections – Luncarty to Pass of Birnam and Kincraig to Dalraddy – with a view to work starting on the latter scheme in 2015/16 and in 2017 on the Luncarty to Pass of Birnam stretch.”
As part of the continuing commitment to keep the public informed as the plans are developed, an “Engaging with communities” booklet is available giving more details about our efforts in this area. This is available at all the public exhibitions and on the A9 Dualling website http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/a9dualling.