A9 Dualling surveys programme
The Minister joined a topographical survey team at Drumochter to see the work they are doing which will inform the design of the new dualled route.
Mr Brown highlighted the sheer scale of the work and saw at first-hand the difficult terrain being surveyed as the A9 Dualling Programme gathers pace. He said:
"The A9 Dualling Programme is the most expensive transport project in Scotland's history and presents some of the most challenging work ever witnessed.
“The A9 passes through areas which are breathtaking and hugely important in terms of wildlife and landscape - not to mention people's homes. The surveys currently taking place along the route, including here at Drumochter will help support the ongoing preliminary design work on the A9 and help inform the early engineering services work that has now started on the A96 dualling programme.
“The extent of the surveys, covering an area of over 22,000 hectares, the equivalent of 30,000 football pitches, is testament to the challenges that lie ahead as we take forward our plans to dual this vital route.
“In addition, the scale of the work covered by the dualling programme includes The Cairngorms National Park, three national scenic areas, 14 scheduled monuments, one conservation area, 51 listed buildings, 12 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, two National Nature Reserves and 222 watercourses.
"We are also dealing with rock cuttings; building new bridges and widening existing major bridges; public utilities; dealing with the close proximity of the Highland Mainline Railway; and there are currently over 100 junctions that must be incorporated to provide access to adjacent property and communities.
“Some very complex and demanding challenges undoubtedly lie ahead, but given our track record on other major projects we are confident of delivery on time and on budget.
"Along with the survey work we will shortly be issuing invitations to tender to the eight well-respected design consultancies or joint ventures that have made the shortlist for the three A9 Dualling design contracts.
"It shouldn’t be forgotten that 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 one that will exceed the cost of the M74, Queensferry Crossing, and AWPR combined.
“The benefits of a fully dualled A9 are clear - communities and businesses who live along or use this important route can look forward to faster journey times, better journey time reliability and road safety improvements."
The survey work is required to develop the 200 metre wide corridors that were part of the June 2013 public exhibitions into individual projects and packages as part of the A9 Dualling Programme. The £600,000 topographical survey of the A9 will employ 38 people and will cover an area of over 22,000 Hectares.
As well as engineers on the ground, aerial surveys are also being carried out along the entire length of the A9 and A96 routes that are to be dualled.
The topographical survey of the A9 will employ 38 people and will cover an area of over 22,000 Hectares which is the equivalent of over 30,000 football pitches. It will include surveys of 126 structures and over 200 Hectares or the equivalent of 280 football pitches worth of existing road carriageway including 10 crossings of the Highland Mainline.
The scale of the A9 Dualling Programme will include the following:
· The Cairngorms National Park
· 3 National Scenic areas
· 14 Scheduled Monuments
· 1 Historic Battlefield
· 3 Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes
· 1 Conservation Area
· 51 Listed Buildings
· 7 Special Areas of Conservation
· 2 Special Protection Areas
· 12 Sites of Special Scientific Interest
· 2 National Nature Reserves
· 142 sites registered on the Ancient Woodland Inventory
· 222 watercourse crossings including the Rivers Tay and Spey
Eight well-respected design consultancies or joint ventures have made the shortlist for the three A9 Dualling design contracts and will shortly be invited to tender for the work. They are :
• AECOM/Mott MacDonald
• CH2M Hill/Fairhurst
• WSP/Ramboll/Fehily Timoney
Details of the A9 Dualling Programme can be found at: http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/road/projects/a9