Highlands & Islands

MSPs say improvements to A9 taking too long

Berriedale Braes hairpin bend Image copyright Jim Bain/Geograph
Image caption Improvements are to the A9 at Berriedale Braes

The timescale for improvements to the A9 has been criticised by two MSPs.

Conservative Mary Scanlon and Labour's Rhoda Grant have separately criticised the length of time it will take to upgrade sections of the trunk road.

Eighty miles of single carriageway between Perth and Inverness are to be made into dual carriageway by 2025.

Improvements are also planned for the A9 at Berriedale Braes, a hairpin bend further north in Caithness.

Ms Scanlon has criticised the timescale for the dualling of the trunk road between Inverness and Perth.

She said it was disappointing that the current construction of almost five miles (8km) of dual carriageway between Kincraig and Dalraddy was the first upgrade project since an upgrade at Crubenmore about five years ago.

She has asked the government for detailed timetables of when the remaining stretches of single carriageway would be upgraded.

£3bn project

Ms Grant wrote to Transport Minister Derek Mackay about the timing for improvements to the Berriedale Braes, a hairpin bend where the trunk road drops from 150m (492ft) to 20m (65ft).

The MSP said Mr Mackay's response included that funding for the works would not form part of the government's draft budget for 2016-17.

With a public inquiry also still to be held into the planned improvement, Ms Grant said the project was at least two-and-a-half years away from completion.

A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: "Since publication of draft Orders last year we have been working hard to progress the Berriedale Braes improvement scheme.

"However, as one statutory objector remains it has been necessary to arrange a Public Local Inquiry (PLI), which is currently scheduled for April this year.

"The Scottish government remains committed to delivering the A9 Berriedale Braes project."

The Scottish government said more than half of the dual carriageway between Inverness and Perth would be built by 2022.

A spokesperson said: "The Scottish government is the first government to commit to dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness which is a huge undertaking and one of largest and challenging infrastructure projects in Scotland's history."

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