Ewing calls on Scottish Government to publish A9 dualling timetable

The SNP MSP has long campaigned for the road, which connects the Highlands to the central belt, to be fully dualled.

An MSP has called on the Scottish Government to publish a guaranteed timetable for completing the long-awaited dualling of the A9.

The Scottish Government has indicated there will be “further decision making in late 2025” with a review of market conditions.

However Fergus Ewing has voiced concerns over a recent pledge of completion of the dualling of the road between Perth and Inverness by 2035.

The road, which connects the Highlands with the central belt, has been previously branded “Scotland’s most dangerous road” with calls made to upgrade the entire route into dual carriageway.

The MSP for Inverness and Nairn has said the Scottish Government needs to admit it has “got it wrong” over dualling plans for the road, which have been delayed over a number of years.

Former transport minister Jenny Gilruth said last year that plans to upgrade the A9 to dual carriageway in its entirety by the original 2025 completion date was “simply unachievable”.

In December, 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.

Ewing has called for an updated timetable following accidents on the stretch of road in recent weeks.

A ten-year-old girl was left fighting for her life and a 12-year-old left seriously injured in a collision near Dalwhinnie on the A9 last week, while an elderly man died after a van crashed into his stationary car near Ralia days prior.

Ewing told STV News: “I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of people in the Highlands think that we’ve been let down and what they want is for the Scottish Government to admit that we got it wrong, but we’ll put it right.

“What they’ve got is a sort of mealy mouthed halfway house with a caveat that says the whole thing could be called off if market conditions, whatever they are, aren’t propitious in 2025. That’s not good enough.”

The Scottish Government said it anticipates that half of the A9 will be operating as a dual carriageway by the end of 2030, with the project fully completed by 2035.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “As set out in Parliament, the delivery plan for completion of the A9 Dualling project has been developed to balance market capacity, disruption to road users and challenging financial constraints due to the impact of the UK Government not inflation-proofing their Capital Budget, resulting in nearly a 10% real-terms cut in our capital funding between 2023-24 and 2027-28.

“We will deliver the dualling of the remaining section of the A9 via a hybrid approach, combining three capital funded design and build contracts with two resource funded Mutual Investment Model (MIM) contracts. This is subject to ongoing due diligence and further decision making in late 2025, including an updated assessment of market conditions.

“There will be no let up – once construction starts on Tomatin to Moy, under the A9 Dualling delivery plan, construction will roll continually until the route is fully dualled between Perth and Inverness.  We anticipate nearly 50% of the A9 between Perth and Inverness will be operating as dual carriageway by the end of 2030, rising to 85% by the end of 2033 and 100% by the end of 2035.

“The only section not to have started the statutory process is the Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing project, the preferred route for which was announced on December 20 2023. This has been the subject of a co-creative process with the local community and the preferred route option was announced as part of the A9 Statement.”

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