Campaigner accuses Humza Yousaf of using the A9 dualling as 'political pawn'

Laura Hansler is set to bring her concerns directly to MSPs in Holyrood

A woman campaigning for the A9 to be made a complete dual carriageway has said First Minister Humza Yousaf used the road as a “political pawn” to get the top job.

Laura Hansler from Kincraig says people living in the Highlands are growing angry and frustrated at the significant delays to dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness, warning more people will die as a result.

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In 2022 13 people died on this stretch of road, and most recently an 18-year-old died in May after a crash at Dalmagarry.

A six-mile section of the A9 between Luncarty and Birnam was turned into dual carriageway last year, but progress has been elsewhere on the road. Picture: Transport ScotlandA six-mile section of the A9 between Luncarty and Birnam was turned into dual carriageway last year, but progress has been elsewhere on the road. Picture: Transport Scotland
A six-mile section of the A9 between Luncarty and Birnam was turned into dual carriageway last year, but progress has been elsewhere on the road. Picture: Transport Scotland

Initially the Scottish Government said the project would be completed by 2025. However only two of the 11 sections of the road have been completed so far, and recently the former transport minister Jenny Gilruth was forced to admit this target was no longer achievable.

Ms Hansler has submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for urgent progress to be made and for a public inquiry into the delays.

She is now due to appear in front of MSPs next week.

Ms Hansler said: “We are constantly being swept under the carpet - there are far too many deaths on the road and the infrastructure can’t sustain the amount of tourism.

Laura Hansler will give evidence on delays to dualling the A9 to MSPs. Image: Supplied.Laura Hansler will give evidence on delays to dualling the A9 to MSPs. Image: Supplied.
Laura Hansler will give evidence on delays to dualling the A9 to MSPs. Image: Supplied.

“It is a betrayal to the Highlands. We are in dire straits and there has been no movement from the government whatsoever.”

She added a new timetable needs to be drawn up, as she worries the project may not be completed until 2050.

This is only months after a contract for the Tomatin to Moy section had to be re-tendered as Transport Scotland only received one bid which was deemed to be above what had been budgeted for.

Ms Hansler added: “Ideally this will now go to an inquiry because every single candidate running for First Minister used the A9 dualling on their agenda.

Kevin Stewart says there will be no going back on dualling.Kevin Stewart says there will be no going back on dualling.
Kevin Stewart says there will be no going back on dualling.
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“But Humza Yousaf has not brought it up since and is not giving anyone an answer.

“So as I predicted, this has become a political pawn.”

This comes as Kevin Stewart MSP stepped down as transport minister over his mental health. A new transport minister is expected to be announced in the coming days.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said ministers are “firmly committed” to dualling the A9, saying it is one of the biggest transport infrastructure projects in Scotland’s history.

They said: “Road users are already benefiting from the dualled stretch between Kincraig and Dalraddy and Luncarty and the Pass of Birnam, which opened in September 2017 and August 2021 respectively.

“Design work is progressing on the rest of the programme, with ministerial decisions to complete the statutory process confirmed for seven of the remaining eight schemes still to be dualled.”

They said the only section which has not got this far is the “challenging” Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing section, but added the government is working with the local community to try and find a solution.

The spokesman added: “Work to determine the most suitable procurement options for the remaining sections is ongoing with the work expected to conclude in autumn 2023 and an update on a renewed timescale for completion will be provided to the Scottish Parliament at that time.”

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