A9 Helmsdale to Ord of Caithness improvements phase 2

What's involved?

The improvements are largely off-line, with the southern tie-in at East Helmsdale and the northern tie-in near the watercourse at Allt Briste North.

There are three junctions/accesses on the route which include:

  • A new roundabout with the existing A9 at the southern end of the scheme
  • A junction with Navidale Cemetery Road (U299)
  • An access to Navidale House Hotel

The scheme will include a 170 metre-long section of retaining wall, up to 8.8 metres high, between the existing A9 and the new road as it passes Navidale House Hotel. There will also be a number of culverts and an underpass at Sput Burn.

Project benefits

This section of the A9 needed to be improved in order to reduce driver frustration and thereby reduce the number of accidents on the route as well as to reduce journey times on the route. The lack of overtaking opportunities on the previous alignment also led to journey times being unreliable.


These details are available from the programme document

Impact on travel

The realigned section of the A9 will significantly improve the alignment. Together with the introduction of the climbing lane, the project will reduce journey times on this route while improvements to the alignment and the standard of the carriageway will make the road safer for all road users.

Traffic management

Planned traffic management was in place to ensure site safety but minimised delays to road users.

Environmental impact

Adverse effects have been identified in the Environmental Impact Assessment process and the appropriate mitigation measures have been incorporated into the design. These measures include -

  •  A careful selection of the horizontal and vertical alignment
  •  Retaining and supplementing existing vegetation
  •  Integrating the road improvements to the landscape
  •  Planting to provide visual screening

Proposed route

This second phase completes the commitment to provide improvements in journey times, safety and allow improved overtaking opportunities on this strategically important route.