A public consultation was held in Aviemore yesterday as Transport Scotland revealed plans depicting the preferred route for the dualling of the A9 between Dalraddy and Slochd.
The stretch of the route spans over 15 miles and is the largest section of the dualling project to be undertaken as an individual project.
Sam MacNaughton of Transport Scotland said: “It has been a good turnout with a lot of positive comments. People are generally content the scheme has reached this stage and is moving forward.
“We have had people here locally and people from further afield who travel the length of the A9 so it has been a good cross section of the public.”
On display to members of the public was the trunk road order, compulsory purchase order and the environmental statement.
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Mr MacNaughton added: “We have a number of specialists and experts here to discuss the various aspects and are able to explain in detail the project.
“We are working towards a functional and scenic project which is in keeping with the local landscape. We want to have something the people of the Highlands can be proud of when we are finished.”
Challenges have been encountered during the project, with rock faces at Slochd and peat bogs near to the Highland Mainline railway requiring finer attention.
The statutory six week period of display for the draft orders ends on October 9. Should there be any objections these must be addressed or a Public Local Inquiry will be required.
If no objections are submitted, works on the project can expect to get underway in the next two years, with the construction phase anticipated to last between four and four and a half years.
Rory Gunn project manager said: “This is the longest individual project on the A9 and consists of around 25km of road so that in itself presents a number of challenges.
“Throughout the project, we are bounded by ancient woodland and forestry.
“So far from conversations I have had, people are generally supportive of the proposed junction arrangements.
“Although there have been some concerns, the general message is that people are supportive of A9 dualling and our plans are designed as best we can to minimise disruption.”
A further consultation with the general public takes place today in Carrbridge Village Hall between 11am and 5pm.
A £4million contract to complete the most northerly section of the A9 dualling project has been awarded.
Raeburn Drilling and Geotechnical Ltd have been tasked with dualling the six-mile stretch of the route which runs between Tomatin and Moy, with work set to begin next month.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson said: “The work to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness is continuing at pace with draft orders published for 95% of the route and construction of the second section to be dualled from Luncarty to Pass of Birnam about to start in the next few months following the intention to award announcement earlier this month.
“With the publication of the draft Orders for the Tomatin to Moy scheme in June this year, we are now able to award a ground investigation contract for the same scheme which will help inform ongoing design work.”
Work on the dualling project between Tomatin and Moy is expected to last for around 18 weeks, with Transport Scotland alerting users to possible disruptions as work is carried out.
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “As some of this work will take place on or near the live carriageway and in order to ensure the safety of both road workers and road users we will need to introduce traffic management arrangements when required.
“Road users and local communities will be kept informed of our plans and we will endeavour to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum.”