The furthest south of the “Highland” sections of the A9 dualling plans were on display yesterday in Dalwhinnie.
The two-day exhibition, also on today at Dalwhinnie Village Hall, shows designs for the latest developments in the A9 dualling scheme for the sections of Glen Garry and Dalwhinnie and Crubenmore.
The plans outline the proposed layout of the new dual carriageway, as well as details including enhanced laybys – encouraging tourists to stop and admire the scenery at Drumochter Pass.
Ross Grey, road and infrastructure manager for CFGV spoke of the benefits the project will bring to local residents. He said: “The works are essential I think for motorists and local residents and the communities. It’s going to enhance on and improve the connectivity between the central belt and the highlands as well as providing improved access for everyone to get to local services and local areas of the community.”
With Drumochter Pass being particularly narrow, engineers struggled to come up with solutions when constructing the dual carriageway plans.
The plans aim to reduce impact on the environment, by blending in with the area’s existing surroundings.
Mr Grey, who is also project manager for the Glen Garry to Dalwhinnie stretch added: “It was very difficult for us to come up with feasible solutions to deliver the section. Drumochter pass has been the main corridor for people travelling from the Highlands to the central belt for centuries.
“Finding sufficient space to provide the dual carriage way was difficult, taking into consideration all the constraints but the solutions are there and these are the ones that we are presenting as part of the scheme.”
Councillor Muriel Cockburn for Badenoch and Starthspey feels the project is ‘long overdue’ and is pleased that a promise made by the Government 36 years ago is finally becoming a reality.
She said: “It’s really important that there is community engagement. There is nothing like meeting people directly. I am a great believer in the direct face to face approach, everyone can contribute something and learn from each other. The A9 will bring great value and I just want it to happen sooner rather than later. My husband and I came up here in 1982 for our honeymoon and the government of the day promised the A9 would be dualled.
“It’s long overdue. The Highlands are prospering and could prosper even more.”