Overview

The A9 between Perth and Inverness is undergoing a major upgrade from single to dual carriageway. The Luncarty to Pass of Birnam section encompasses 9.5km of the A9 and will be widened as part of the dualling programme, improving journey times and safety on the route.

Why it's needed

Our aim is to reduce journey times and make them more reliable. Alongside this, we aim to improve integration with public transport facilities, mitigate the environmental impact of the road and facilitate active travel such as walking and cycling.

Impact on travel

Road users may experience some delays during the construction period as traffic management will be required to allow main construction works to be undertaken adjacent to live traffic. On completion the upgrade should have a positive effect on driver stress levels.

The plan

The existing 9.5km stretch of single carriageway will be widened to full dual carriageway standard, providing safe and guaranteed overtaking opportunities in both directions.

All junctions providing direct access to the A9 will be closed and replaced with two new junctions which will provide safe access to and from the road via slip-lanes. These are known as ‘grade separated’ junctions.

A number of new access roads and tracks will be constructed to provide properties with safe access to the local road network and the new grade separated junctions.

Four new overbridges are proposed to maintain local acess across the A9, along with the widening of one existing underbridge and the provision of a new side road bridge. Other structures, such as retaining walls and culverts will also be required.

The scheme also include:

  • two northbound laybys and one southbound, with 70m of parking
  • new footways and cycleways, including a new link between Luncarty and Bankfoot
  • a drainage scheme developed in accordance with Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS) and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) guidance

Community engagement

Community engagement is a priority with all of our projects. Working with those affected by the A9 dualling programme is at the heart of our planning and we regularly run engagement events to consult local communities, road users, businesses and individuals as our plans are progressed.

Meet the contractor – Public exhibitions - December 2018

Our contractor responsible for the design and construction of the A9 Dualling Programmebetween Luncarty and the Pass of Birnam, held a series of public exhibitions for residents of Bankfoot, Stanley and Luncarty on 3, 10 and 11 December 2018, respectively.

These events provided an opportunity to meet with key people involved in the project and to learn more about the construction phase in advance of the main works commencing in early 2019.  

These events were supported by senior team members from our contractor: Balfour Beatty, Atkins and Jacobs as well as representatives from Transport Scotland.

Public exhibitions - April 2014

Exhibitions were held in Bankfoot on 2 and 3 April 2014 to update the public on the Luncarty to Pass of Birnam dualling scheme.

Public exhibitions - January / February 2012

Previously we hosted public exhibitions in January / February 2012 to give everybody the opportunity to see potential route options.

The exhibition boards are available in two parts:

Traffic management

How we plan traffic management

All traffic management for the project is planned in a manner that minimises the impact on the local community and minimises delays, disruptions and diversions to existing traffic. To help make sure that our contractor achieves this, traffic management proposals are planned and coordinated through a regular traffic management meeting, chaired by the contractor and attended by Transport Scotland and representatives of Bear Scotland, Perth and Kinross Council and Police Scotland.

Safety of road users and the workforce through the construction area is a key priority for Transport Scotland, so we work closely with our contractor, Balfour Beatty to ensure that their proposals reflect this, in addition to keeping disruption to a minimum.

As the project develops, updates on major temporary traffic management to allow construction of the project to progress, will be provided here. The dates given are as accurate as possible, but are subject to change at short notice.

For enquiries relating to traffic management, please contact Balfour Beatty on 0800 193 7313 or email, A9L2B@balbourbeatty.com.

Traffic management for duration of project

Major traffic management will be in place on the A9 between Luncarty and the Pass of Birnam in both directions to allow construction works to dual the carriageway to progress.

Graphic showing the road with marked areas to show where the work will be taking place

Traffic restrictions including narrow lanes and temporary safety cameras to enforce a reduced speed limit of 40mph through the works area will be implemented from Monday 4th February 2019.

The traffic management installation will take place overnight from 7:30pm to 6:30am, from Monday 4 February for approximately 2 weeks.

This traffic management will remain in place until completion of the project in Spring 2021.

Sustainable and active transport links

In line with the Scottish Government’s National Transport Strategy (NTS2), the A9 Dualling: Luncarty to Pass of Birnam project will provide approximately 4km of new and upgraded pedestrian and cycle routes to help promote sustainable and active transport, linking the communities of Luncarty and Bankfoot. Sections of the existing core-paths within the project area will also be upgraded with new asphalt surfacing.

View the new non-motorised user (NMU) route between these communities

To promote safe travel for non-motorised users (NMUs), the project will replace existing at-grade core path crossings of the A9 with overbridges between Luncarty and the Pass of Birnam at the following locations:

  • Pitlandie
  • Coltrannie
  • Gelly Wood

A fourth A9 core path crossing located south of Bankfoot is being replaced by the new Stanley/Tullybelton overbridge which is located approximately 1km south of the existing crossing point.

The new sections of non-motorised user (NMU) network constructed as part of our project will also provide direct connections to the existing core path network between Inveralmond roundabout (Perth) and Luncarty. Linking the communities of Bankfoot and Luncarty through these new sections of active travel network will provide dedicated and safer connections to the wider active travel network; southbound to Perth and northbound along the National Cycle Network (NCN) 77 to Dunkeld and beyond.

These improvements help connect communities locally and encourage more residents and visitors to make healthy travel choices, providing a cleaner, greener and more sustainable network.

The map showing the new routes which will be created as part of the project also highlights local visitor attractions and points of recreational interest, as well as connections to the railway network to help plan your journey. To find out more about cycle routes in Scotland, visit the Sustrans website.

Protecting the environment

The design of the scheme has been informed by detailed environmental assessments. One of the main considerations has been avoiding or reducing adverse effects on the environment.

Transport Scotland published an Environmental Statement in 2014 presenting the outcome of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

Environmental considerations

The region between Luncarty and Pass of Birnam present a number of unique environmental sensitivities. These included:

  • designated sites such as the River Tay, SAC, Cairnleith Moss SSSI and Mill Dam SSSI
  • cultural heritage, including listed buildings, archaeological sites and historic landscapes
  • protected species such as otters, Atlantic salmon and lamprey
  • woodlands including Gelly Wood and Murthly Estate
  • low-lying agricultural farmland, undulated hillsides, watercourses and heathland landscapes
  • properties in Luncarty, Bankfoot and in isolated rural areas
  • access on various cycleways and paths.

Mitigation

The scheme passes through a rural area with some environmentally sensitive and protected areas, as well as running close to several communities.

The project includes the following mitigation for environmental impact:

  • enhancement of the Gelly Overbridge to support the movement of species across the new A9, with a widened green verge to stimulate biodiversity
  • installation of mammal tunnels alongside culverts to support the movement of otter and other species underneath the new A9
  • installation of bat boxes in areas of existing woodland
  • new and re-routed access tracks and footpaths and new community links, including a cycleway and footway linking Bankfoot and Luncarty
  • landscape planting to replace loss of habitat, screen views and integrate the new A9 with its surroundings
  • construction measures including pollution control and timing of work to avoid sensitive periods
  • incorporating low noise road surfacing and noise barriers into the design to mitigate any noise impacts.

Document library

Construction updates

 

Winter 2019/20

Despite adverse weather creating challenging working conditions in February, bridge beam lifting operations at Gelly overbridge were successfully completed during two overnight closures of the A9 on 18 and 19 February, rather than the three nights originally planned. The project team were able to carry out the finishing works to the beam lift operation on the third night under temporary traffic lights, which minimised disruption to road users allowing the road to remain open overnight on the 20 February.

Image of the bridge beams in place

In addition, the project achieved a significant milestone during February with traffic being switched on to the new section of northbound carriageway at Luncarty Junction for approximately 2.4km. The focus will now shift to the new southbound carriageway at the northern end of the project.

During Winter 2019/20, the project team have been busy laying cement bound granular material (CBGM) as the base of the new southbound carriageway.

Work also continued on the installation of the drainage network, tying in new road drainage to the network of Sustainable Drainage System Ponds (SuDS) that have been constructed throughout the project, some of which are now visible to passing road users.

Earth moving operations continued at Bankfoot North Junction during January and February with some 27,000m3 of earth placed in the vicinity of the new Hunters Lodge Underbridge extension. This material is being excavated from other areas within the site to fill the area surrounding the structure.

Earthwork operations being carried out at Hunters Lodge

The construction of the concrete bridge decks at the Pitlandie and Coltrannie overbridges, following their beam installation in late 2019, has also progressed within the period. The concrete deck at the new Stanley/Tullybelton overbridge was completed allowing site traffic to transport material over the A9 without affecting road users.

Landscaping works also got underway and road users and residents will have noticed that several hundred trees have now been planted on the verges and slopes adjacent to the newly constructed carriageway.

Newly opened road with planting in sight

 

Autumn 2019

During Autumn 2019, the project moved into another exciting phase with the first layers of the new road being laid at the southern section of the site, between the Luncarty and Stanley junctions. Road users can now see the new northbound carriageway as they travel north of Luncarty.

Eye level shot of new carriageway

Once the southern section of the pavement operations are complete, surfacing operations will move to the north of the project to commence forming the new southbound carriageway working south towards Bankfoot.

Culvert extensions and head walls have now been completed including two large culverts at the Shochie and Ordie burns. The drainage adjacent to the carriageway was also progressed ahead of the new road construction which includes connections below the existing road. These connections allow the surface water run-off to flow to the SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) ponds. In addition to the drainage, kerbing for the new carriageway has also commenced and road users will see this in place at the new carriageway north of Luncarty and also at the north end of the site, ahead of the new road being laid.

Earthworks for the project this period focused on embankment construction at the new Stanley/Tullybelton junction. The structures were also backfilled as the construction of the concrete supports and decks progressed.

The Tullybelton overbridge deck is now complete and now that the temporary supports above the carriageway have been removed, the final profile of the bridge deck is now visible to road users.

Aerial shot of carriageway with Tullybelton overbridge deck

Good progress was made on two more structures, with the successful installation of precast concrete beams at both Pitlandie and Coltrannie overbridges during full overnight closures of the A9 at the end of November. These two important structures will provide new safer access for residents and farmers who live and work adjacent to the A9. These new accesses will also allow the existing accesses off the A9 to be closed to help improve road safety along this section of the A9. See a timelapse video of the beams being installed.

During the overnight closures works at drainage crossings and general maintenance of the traffic management were also undertaken along with refreshing temporary white lines at junctions throughout the site.

Summer 2019

The earthworks stage of the project continued throughout Summer 2019 with the majority of earthworks to the south of the new Stanley/Tullybelton junction nearing completion.

North of the Stanley/Tullybelton junction, earthworks continued with the excavated material from Bankfoot being used as fill material for the construction of the Tullybelton East junction. The earthworks around this structure included the shaping of the approach embankments on either side of the junction which will form the new slip roads to tie into the existing Stanley road. In total, approximately 610,000 m3 of material had been excavated by the end of August 2019, enough to fill 244 Olympic size swimming pools.

The traffic management for the site underwent a change in June 2019 as a temporary mini-roundabout was installed south of Bankfoot. The temporary mini-roundabout helps to manage the safe flow of traffic during construction of the new A9 dual carriageway.

Aerial shot of temporary roundabout

The temporary roundabout allows site vehicles direct access from the A9 to the quarry located at Loak Farm which provides the materials essential for the construction of the project and reduces the volume of construction vehicles on the local road network, which would otherwise need to come from quarries further afield.

Carriageway drainage on the southern end of the project commenced in July which involved laying pipes along the length of the new carriageway. Drainage is a key part of any road network as it allows surface water to run off the new carriageway to designated collection basins, ensuring the safe operation of the road for road users.

Works continued at Shochie and Ordie Burns to extend these culverts to allow for the wider A9 dual carriageway.

The project reached a significant milestone at the end of July following three overnight closures of the A9 to allow the installation of bridge beams to construct the new Stanley/Tullybelton junction. A total of 15 beams weighing 765 tonnes - the equivalent of 60 double decker buses – were installed to form the new structure over the carriageway. During the month of August, work began on the construction of the deck of this structure.

Aerial shot of beam lift at Tullybelton

Construction of the concrete columns at Pitlandie, Coltrannie and Gelly overbridges progressed during August.

At Bankfoot North Junction, works to extend Hunters Lodge underpass progressed with the southern abutment cast.

The steep embankment at Broompark was cut to make way for the new dual carriageway. Soil nails were used to stabilise the steepened slope. Soil nailing involves drilling holes into the slope and fixing long steel bars into the holes with grout.

Close up of soil nailed wall

Further north of Bankfoot, site clearance and boundary fencing works continued, with earthworks commencing in the area to prepare for the construction of the two new overbridges at Coltrannie and Gelly.

The traffic management to the south of Luncarty junction was altered at the end of August to allow the first 2.4km of new carriageway to be constructed and tied into the existing dual carriageway. In advance of the new carriageway being constructed, drainage and foundation layers for the road were completed in preparation for the Cement Bound Granular Material (CBGM) being laid on this stretch.

The CBGM material is produced at the onsite batching plant adjacent to the project office at Loak Farm, along with some of the raw materials for the concrete and road pavement.

Spring 2019

Since the construction contract was awarded in September 2018, preparatory works including design, and construction works have progressed well during the initial months to June 2019. The project moved into the earthworks phase, where approximately 700,000m3 of earth is expected to be moved during summer 2019 season. That equates to approximately 280 Olympic sized swimming pools! The earthworks form the foundation of what will become the new widened A9.

The design of the dual carriageway has continued to progress, with more than 100 design packages delivered. Design packages are made up of many drawings and specifications which detail how each individual element of the project will be constructed.

To reach this crucial stage, our contractor consulted widely with a range of key stakeholders including Perth and Kinross Council, BEAR Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), to ensure that the needs of our stakeholders have been considered and included during design development.

Construction activity increased during the period and road users will have noticed a significant step-up in activity. This included:

  • The new Stanley/Tullybelton Junction begun to take shape with hundreds of tonnes of earthworks placed to create the verges on both the east and west sides of the new A9. The overbridge also began to take shape in May, with both abutments formed and column construction underway ready for the pre-cast concrete beams to be lifted into place during overnight closures of the A9 in late July.

Earthworks at Stanley/Tullybelton Junction

  • Site clearance and boundary fencing works were nearing completion in all key areas of the site.
  • Culvert extensions north of Bankfoot (which allow water to flow under the road) were completed to facilitate the widening of the A9.
  • Public utility diversions such as BT cables were also well progressed.
  • The temporary Bailey bridges installed earlier in the year crossing the Shochie an Ordie Burns became operational in April 2019. These Bailey bridges enabled our contractor to move tonnes of material to areas where fill is required, without having to use the existing A9. This has dramatically reduced the number of site vehicles using the A9, minimising delays to road users.

Aerial of Shochie Burn

  • To the north of Bankfoot, soil nailing works commenced on a slope in early May to retain the ground adjacent to a private property.

Aerial of soil nailing at Broompark

  • At the northern extent of the project, construction also commenced at both Coltrannie and Gelly overbridges.

Aerial of Coltrannie Overbridge