Murdo Fraser MSP has expressed his frustration with the SNP Government due to them failing to provide any clarity on when the A9 dualling scheme between Perth and Inverness will be completed.
Murdo Fraser raised the issue in the Chamber at Holyrood this week, when he highlighted how local residents needed some “certainty” on a date being given to improve the one of the “most dangerous roads” in Scotland.
Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, said that a procurement process is underway for contractors to work on the next sections of the £3 billion dualling project, but did not say when the whole project will actually be finished.
Murdo Fraser responding said: “I was disappointed to hear the Cabinet Secretary yet again fail to provide any clarity on when the A9 dualling will be completed. We were initially told it would be done by 2025 but that obviously won’t happen now.
“I acknowledge that the pandemic got in the way but all we heard from the Cabinet Secretary today was a lot of talk about procurement and how the SNP Government would need to wait until this procedure was finalised until they could give an approximate date of completion.
“That isn’t good enough and I find it very frustrating. I am concerned that we still have no clarity on a completion date given the amount of interest there is on the A9, with it being one of Scotland’s most dangerous roads.”
Mr Fraser continued: “We also have an issue with owners of property along the A9 whose property is affected and blighted until definitive plans are published on the new route. They don’t know whether their properties will be compulsory purchased or not.
“Therefore, uncertainty about this matter is acute so I asked the Cabinet Secretary if he could be more definitive about when the public will be told, but alas he did not do so. Residents who live beside the A9 and motorists who use the road are very keen to know when it will be fully dualled.
“For too long we have had just prevarication from the SNP Government when asked about this vital issue. This is not what the public want – they deserve concrete answers.”
Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government remains committed to dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness and work is continuing across the route.
“As well as the completed section between Kincraig and Dalraddy and recently opened section between Luncarty and Pass of Birnam, procurement of the construction contract to dual the A9 between Tomatin and Moy is also underway.
“We continue with the statutory procedures for seven of the remaining eight schemes with the Made Orders now published for Glengarry to Dalwhinnie and Dalwhinnie to Crubenmore schemes and others to follow soon.
“A market consultation exercise commenced earlier this year to inform assessment of procurement options for remaining sections when the statutory process is complete. It is expected this analysis will be completed in the coming weeks and will inform decision making.”