16 – A9 UPGRADING FROM DUNBLANE TO INVERNESS
A.148 The Scottish Government is committed to the dualling of the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness. This intervention considers the full dualling of the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness.
A.149 This intervention supports the objectives to promote journey time reductions between Inverness and the Central Belt, improve the operational effectiveness of the A9, reduce the severity of accidents and address driver frustration.
A.150 The first phase of this intervention would consist of :
- Grade separation of all junctions on the A9 from Keir Roundabout to south of Broxden Roundabout;
- A9 Dual Carriageway from Perth to Blair Atholl;
- Grade separation of Broxden Roundabout and Inveralmond Roundabout; and
- Implementation of climbing lanes, 2+1 sections and junction improvements between Blair Atholl and Inverness.
A.151 The subsequent phases of this intervention would consist of:
- Dualling the A9 between Aviemore and Inverness; and
- Dualling the A9 between Blair Atholl and Aviemore.
Contribution towards the Scottish Government’s Purpose
A.152 Many of the accidents on the A9 between Dunblane and Perth have occurred at the at-grade junctions. These accidents are often serious or fatal and removal of these would significantly reduce severity rate on this route.
A.153 The grade separation of Broxden and Inveralmond Roundabouts would remove the congestion at these locations contributing to reduced journey times, improved journey time reliability and improved road safety.
A.154 The A9 between Perth and Blair Atholl is the most heavily trafficked section of the A9 north of Perth. Dualling this section would have the most significant impact on reducing journey times and improving journey time reliability. This would also contribute to a consistent carriageway standard along this section of the A9.
A.155 The introduction of climbing lanes is also expected to improve safety since evidence elsewhere suggests that the introduction of climbing lanes can result in a significant reduction in accidents, of up to 50 per cent, on single carriageway routes.
A.156 Dualling the A9 between Blair Atholl and Inverness would further reduce journey times and improve journey time reliability between Perth and Inverness, as well as provide a consistent carriageway standard along the whole of A9 between Perth and Inverness. This section is less trafficked than the rest of the A9 and is therefore considered in subsequent phases. Aviemore to Inverness is more heavily trafficked than Blair Atholl to Aviemore and would therefore take priority in future phases.
A.157 This intervention is expected to provide a significant contribution to the Scottish Government’s Purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth. In addition this will also contribute to the national objectives of promoting journey time reductions between the Central Belt and Inverness and the reduction in accident rates. The intervention also addresses the corridor specific objectives of improving the operational effectiveness of the A9 on approaches to Perth and addressing issues of driver frustration.
Links to other strategies
A.158 This intervention links to the Strategic Road Safety Plan and to the Road Asset Management Plan. In particular, the specific intervention proposed here builds on the A9 Route Action Plan Perth to Inverness39, and on the A9 Route Improvement Strategy Study40.
Current status of project
A.159 The Scottish Government has made a long term commitment to dualling the A9 up to Inverness, although it has been recognised that a phased approach is likely to be preferred. Planning for dualling the southern section is progressing but has not yet moved into a formal process. This is a high profile intervention, with significant public interest at both local and national levels.
A.160 The first phase of this intervention is expected to have a cost in the range £500m to £1bn (Dunblane to Perth £100m-£250m, Broxden and Inveralmond Junctions £50m-£100m, Partial Dualling and 2+1 sections £500m-£1bn) with the subsequent phase in the range £1.5bn to £3bn.
A.161 The environmental impacts this intervention has on several biodiversity sites and designated landscapes have been identified at the strategic level as part of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment.
A.162 Careful mitigation of the environmental impacts of this intervention will be required. The design will need to include measures to ensure construction limits impact on these sites. Significant engineering works would also be required at Broxden junction, and at Inveralmond the urban nature of the surroundings could constrain design solutions.