TRANSPORT minister Keith Brown stressed today the “mammoth” £3 billion dualling of the A9 remained on schedule as he announced Jacobs had won a £40-60 million design contract for the project.
The consultants are due to start drawing up plans next month for a 32-mile section between Pass of Birnham, near Dunkeld, and Glen Garry, north of the House of Bruar shopping complex.
Mr Brown said a vital part of the work was liaising with people affected by the project, and Jacobs would send a special team to “help build relationships with local communities” and organise community “drop-in” sessions.
Mr Brown said the dualling work between Perth and Inverness remained on course to start next year, with half completed in 2022 and the scheme finished three years later.
The minister added that average speed cameras were also still due to go into operation in October.
They will cover single carriageway sections of the A9 between Perth and Inverness, and the dual carriageway stretch from Perth to Dunblane.
The 80 miles of dual carriageway to be built will start with a five-mile section between Kincraig and Dalraddy, south of Aviemore, in 2015-16, where Mr Brown said ground investigation work was “progressing well”.
This will be followed by a further 18 miles would be ready for dualling in 2017: a seven-mile section between Pitagowan, near House of Bruar, and Glen Garry; five miles between Dalwhinnie and Crubenmore; and six miles between Tomatin and Moy.
Colorado-based CH2MHill and Glasgow firm Fairhurst won the first design contract, for the 27-mile Glen Garry to Dalraddy.
The third and last contract, for Dalraddy-Inverness, is due to be awarded by the end of the year.
Mr Brown said: “This second major contract is another step forward for this mammoth project, and underlines our determination to bring forward benefits to road users as soon as we can.”
“Make no mistake, the Scottish Government wants to see improvements delivered as soon as possible and we are doing everything possible to bring forward elements of the scheme.
“We remain on track to deliver half of the 80 miles of new upgraded road by 2022, with completion expected by 2025.”