Scottish Government ‘utterly focused’ on dualling A9, says Swinney

The project was originally due to be finished by 2025 but the completion date has since been put back to 2035.

Scottish Government ‘utterly focused’ on dualling A9, says John Swinney PA Media

The Scottish Government is “utterly focused” on the dualling of the A9, the First Minister has said, following a cross-party meeting in Holyrood.

Campaigners and opposition politicians have long criticised the project to fully dual the road between Perth and Inverness in a drive for greater safety.

John Swinney met with MSPs from other parties and campaigner Laura Hansler, of the A9 dual action group, just days after yet another life was lost on the road.

Swinney said: “I was pleased to have the opportunity this afternoon to meet with colleagues across the Parliament and Ms Hansler to discuss the Scottish Government’s plan for dualling the A9.

“One life lost on Scotland’s roads is one too many and our sympathies are with all of those who have been affected by any of the recent accidents on Scotland’s road network.

“This essential route through the Highlands must be safe, reliable and resilient – and that is why we continue to be steadfast in our commitment to delivering A9 dualling.

“This commitment is further demonstrated by the most recent progress made in the programme’s delivery plan, with the publication of the contract notice for the Tay Crossing to Ballinluig section and the anticipated award of the Tomatin to Moy contract in the coming weeks.

“The Scottish Government is utterly focused on achieving the targets set in the delivery plan and it is our intention for construction to roll continually until dualling between Perth and Inverness is complete by the end of 2035.”

On Sunday, a 63-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene near Calvine, Perth and Kinross, after his motorcycle was involved in a crash with a car and another motorcycle.

A 50-year-old woman was arrested and charged in connection with the incident.

The Government had initially set a target of 2025 to complete the dualling project, but that was pushed back to 2035.

The contract for the stretch of the A9 between Tomatin and Moy will be awarded in July, Transport Secretary Fiona Hyslop has said, while a contract notice has been issued for another section, between the Tay crossing and Ballinluig.

Scottish Labour Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant said: “After 14 years of inaction and delay on the A9, people in the north continue to wait for news.

“Every year the SNP failed to deliver on their promise to dual this deadly road has been another of anxiety, stress and grief for those Highland drivers who are just trying to get from A to B.

“There is no more time to waste – the Scottish Government must follow up this meeting by setting out a clear plan now, including timescales and costings and report regularly on progress to the Parliament.

“Plans and progress must be transparent to MSPs, and their constituents can gauge progress for themselves. This dangerous road must be upgraded as a matter of urgency and Scottish Labour will continue to fight to make it happen.”

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