A £1.3m ground investigation contract is set to be awarded ahead of the A9 dualling project.
Transport Scotland is to award the contract to Environmental Scientifics Group Ltd.
When this contract gets under way, it will be the first spade in the ground for the Scottish Government’s ambitious programme to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness by 2025.
Work is expected to begin next month and last for four months.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "Following the public exhibitions and useful feedback we received last December, work to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness is now being stepped up.
"These important ground investigations will give us the detailed information needed to progress the draft orders for Luncarty to Pass of Birnam section next year. They underpin the careful in-depth planning and design required for one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Scotland’s history."
Mr Brown added: "It is further good news that we are starting the tender process for the ground investigation work on the Kincraig to Dalraddy section.
"When completed, the A9 Dualling programme will bring benefits to road users, communities and businesses who live along or use this important route which links central Scotland and the Highlands and Islands."