A9 Dualling: Luncarty to Pass of Birnam project roads to open traffic
Transport Minister Graeme Dey has today announced the opening of the £96 million A9 Dualling: Luncarty to Pass of Birnam project.
Mr Dey confirmed all traffic management including lane and speed restrictions will be removed in a phased manner over Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 August, allowing road users access to the 9.5 km of new dual carriageway between Luncarty, north of Perth, and the Pass of Birnam by Monday 30 August 2021.
The widening of this stretch of single carriageway is the second section of the A9 Dualling Programme to be constructed as part of the Scottish Government’s ambitious £3 billion commitment to dual 129 km of the A9 between Perth and Inverness.
The opening of this section to four lanes of traffic, the most southerly section of the dualling programme, now provides 15 km of continuous dual carriageway from Inveralmond Roundabout to Birnam for the first time.
Mr Dey, said:
“I’m thrilled we’ve reached this most important milestone on the Luncarty to Pass of Birnam project. When the new section of road opens fully, it will bring tremendous benefits - improving connectivity between the Highlands and Islands and Scotland’s central belt, delivering far reaching benefits to the wider Scottish economy.
“More locally, 4 km of new and upgraded non-motorised user route have been constructed to connect the surrounding communities to Scotland’s core path network. Promoting active travel and supporting our commitment to build an Active Nation where people choose to walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys.
“The opening of this major infrastructure project will improve road safety, journey times and journey reliability for the millions of road users that use this strategic route north each year.
“In addition, this vastly improved route will help stimulate the economic recovery of the north of Scotland following the pandemic, mitigate the impacts of Brexit, support businesses, communities and tourism throughout Scotland by improving access to and from the Highlands and Islands.”
The construction works to dual the existing 9.5 km of single carriageway north of Perth began in earnest in February 2019, with the installation of traffic management restrictions, following the appointment of Balfour Beatty as the main contractor in September 2018.
The project involved the construction of four new bridges over the A9 and the removal of all direct accesses to the A9 carriageway. These measures have improved the safety of the route and will reduce driver frustration and stress by providing more opportunity to overtake safely.
The project has also created approximately 4 km of new and upgraded pedestrian, equestrian and cycle routes, helping to promote sustainable and active transport, linking the communities of Luncarty and Bankfoot for the first time. In addition, sections of the existing core paths within the project area have also been upgraded with new asphalt surfacing and mounting blocks have been installed at key locations to improve access for equestrians.
Alan Brisbane, Contract Manager, for Balfour Beatty, said: “We are extremely proud to have delivered this major infrastructure milestone for Scotland, which will not only stimulate the local economy, but also improve safety and reliability for road users.
“Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our expert team remained focused throughout, with our attention now turning to landscaping and associated works, in the coming months.
“I would like to thank road users and local residents for their continued patience over the past three years and I look forward to seeing the wide-ranging benefits of the scheme being enjoyed for many years to come.”
Over the next few months, Balfour Beatty will continue to undertake finishing and landscaping works, which may on occasion require some traffic management to allow works to be undertaken safely. The project is expected to be completed in Winter 2021.
The project has been delivered with an unprecedented focus on community benefits with the ambition of leaving a positive and lasting legacy for the surrounding communities. Transport Scotland and its main contractor, Balfour Beatty have played a crucial role in maximising sustainable employment opportunities, investing in skills and supporting young people, adults and businesses in Perthshire.
The achievements and success of the project from its procurement through to the delivery of social value and community benefits during the construction phase were recognised in November 2020, as the project won ‘Infrastructure Project of the Year’ at the Go Awards Scotland 2020. The project has also recently been shortlisted for the UK National GO Awards under ‘Infrastructure Project of the Year’ category.