A9 dualling moving apace – three new sections identified for early delivery
Transport Minister Keith Brown today announced new details for the A9 Dualling programme with three new sections of Scotland’s longest trunk road to be shovel ready in 2017 subject to completion of required statutory procedures.
With work on the 7.5 km stretch of road between Kincraig and Dalraddy already due to start in 2015/16, Mr Brown welcomed news that sections of the dualling programme expected to be shovel ready in 2017 are the 10.5 km Pitagowan to Glen Garry, the 8.3 km Dalwhinnie to Crubenmore, and 9.3 km Tomatin to Moy stretches.
And draft proposals are also published today for one of the busiest sections of the A9 - the 9.5 km stretch between Luncarty to Pass of Birnam.
In addition, and to address concerns raised by some communities, dualling will only take place on the identified 200 metre-wide corridor along the existing route, with other off-line proposals removed. The publication of a new landscape policy will also ensure that the vitally important environment along the A9 is protected.
Mr Brown said:
“This is the first time any government has committed to dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness, the biggest transport project, by cost, in Scotland's history, and the challenging programme of work remains on schedule for completion by 2025.
“We have pledged to bring forward elements of the scheme wherever we can and we are delivering on that. As a result of the detailed environmental and engineering survey work that has been going on along A9 between Perth and Inverness, we are providing further details which will see the programme divided into twelve distinct schemes from the original nine, allowing three new sections of the route - totalling 28.1 km of upgraded road – to be accelerated through the complex design and legal process.
“We have some 132 km of road to be dualled between Perth and Inverness and these schemes, along with the 7.5km Kincraig-Dalraddy stretch, helps to meet our pledge to complete over half of the entire upgrading by 2022.
“To remove any uncertainty for local communities, we have also recommended that the whole dualling programme should follow a 200 metre-wide corridor along the existing route of the A9 rather than introduce any new road alignments, and we will consult on the new route options to hear views and get a local perspective as we develop the programme of works.
“In addition, we know the A9 also passes through areas of breathtaking natural beauty and which are hugely important in terms of wildlife, landscape and ecological value. The principles embedded in the new ‘Fitting Landscapes’ policy published today, which have been used to guide the early A9 Dualling assessment work, will ensure the special qualities of the A9 landscape work will be protected and where possible, enhanced as the dualling programme is developed. The document will also act as a guiding light in all other landscape design and management work being taken forward by Transport Scotland.”
Commenting on the new landscape policy, Don McKee, Head of Major Projects, Cairngorms National Park Authority said:
"Fitting landscapes” is a very welcome policy that fits well with the aims of the Cairngorms National Park. We are pleased to see the integrated approach that requires high quality landscape design together with wildlife conservation in establishing the highest quality for our road infrastructure.
“We are also very pleased to see it being applied to the planning of the A9 Dualling programme to make this road a positive contribution to some of Scotland’s most valued landscapes”
Nick Halfhide, Head of Operations at Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), added:
“The A9 passes through many sensitive areas for wildlife and their habitats, which will clearly need to be taken into account in the dualling project. The road also passes through some outstanding landscape and it’s important that motorists are able to appreciate this as part of their journey.
“Dualling the road will therefore present some significant environmental challenges. We welcome Transport Scotland’s approach in applying the Fitting Landscapes principles in the early stages of design and planning. This will help put measures in place to minimise impacts on nature and landscape.”
The Transport Minister also welcomed the news that the draft Road Orders and Environmental Statement for the 9.5 km section of the A9 from Luncarty to Pass of Birnam which is expected to start construction in 2017, have been published. The designs go on display at a public exhibition being held in Bankfoot on 2 and 3 April, giving locals and road users a chance to comment on the proposals.
Mr Brown concluded:
“We are building on the momentum gathering on the A9 Dualling with the publication today of the draft Orders for the Luncarty to Pass of Birnam scheme, one of the most heavily used sections of the A9. I would encourage anyone with an interest to come along to one of the public exhibitions early next month to see our plans and take the opportunity to comment on them.”
1. The Preliminary Engineering Services (PES) DMRB Stage 1 Assessment of the A9 between Perth and Inverness has been published www.transportscotland.gov.uk/a9dualling/DMRB .This looked at baseline info, engineering constraints along the route and early corridor work.
2. As part of the PES work, the number of projects that makes up the A9 Dualling Programme has been updated from nine to twelve. The updated programme is as follows:
- Luncarty to Pass of Birnam
- Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing
- Tay Crossing to Ballinluig
- Pitlochry to Killiecrankie
- Killiecrankie to Pitagowan
- Pitagowan to Glen Garry
- Glen Garry to Dalwhinnie
- Dalwhinnie to Crubenmore
- Crubenmore to Kincraig
- Kincraig to Dalraddy
- Dalraddy to Slochd
- Tomatin to Moy
3. The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Addendum has also been published for consultation www.transportscotland.gov.uk/a9dualling/SEA. The Addendum responds to a number of issues raised in the June 2013 consultation on the SEA Environmental Report and considers issues such as the potential impact of the dualling on flood risk and sites designated under the European Habitats Directive. The consultation will run for 6 weeks and Transport Scotland would welcome any comments on the findings by 2 May 2014.
4. Details of the public exhibitions for the Luncarty to Pass of Birnam section:
Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 April 2014 – 12 noon-7 pm: Bankfoot Church Centre, Tulliebelton Rd, Bankfoot, Perth PH1 4BS
5. Further information on the A9 Dualling Programme can be found at: www.transportscotland.gov.uk/a9dualling
6. Fitting Landscapes replaces the previous, award-winning policy Cost Effective Landscape: Learning from Nature and is available to download from the Transport Scotland website at: http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/strategy-and-research/publications-and-consultations/j279083-00.htm
7. Fitting Landscapes will empower landscape architects, engineers and other relevant specialists and stakeholders to work together to deliver and maintain schemes that secure high quality environments, promote design innovation and ensure a more sustainable approach to design and management. The new landscape policy has been instrumental in shaping the project-specific Landscape Principles, agreed with the Cairngorms National Park and Scottish Natural Heritage, which will ensure the special qualities and scenic beauty of this landscape will be protected and, where possible, enhanced as the dualling programme is further developed.