The A9 dualling project will be a decade later than expected with it due to be completed by 2035, the Scottish Government has announced.
Former transport minister Jenny Gilruth had told MSPs in February that work to upgrade the road – which runs from Perth to Inverness – to dual-carriageway in its entirety by the original 2025 completion date was “simply unachievable”.
Last week it was revealed ministers were warned two years ago that fully dualling the A9 road could take until 2034 and cost almost £7.2bn – more than double the original £3bn estimate.
On Wednesday, Transport Scotland estimates put the cost at £3.7bn.
Cabinet secretary for transport, Mairi McAllan, updated Parliament on the delivery plan for dualling works for the remaining single carriageway sections of the A9 between Perth and Inverness.
She said the plan anticipates completion of the entire A9 Dualling programme between Perth and Inverness by the end of 2035.
McAllan said the plans for the “backbone of Scotland” had faced challenges and had not progressed at the pace the Government would have liked.
“This Government is restating its commitment to dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness – with a concrete plan,” she said.
“The approach I have set out means that the Highlands can have confidence that the considerable benefits of A9 Dualling will be delivered in full.
“Now we have reached this point, there will be no let up. When construction starts on Tomatin to Moy next year, under this delivery programme, it should roll continually until the route between Perth and Inverness is fully dualled.”
SNP backbencher Fergus Ewing, who has long called for the A9 dualling project, said he will continue to remain “sceptical” until he sees diggers on the road.
He added: “There must be no more slippage, no more delays and no more broken promises.”
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