Motorists travelling on the A9 between Dalraddy and Slochd can expect disruption from next week as work on the largest individual section of the A9 dualling project is set to get underway.
Contractors will be on site from Monday 12 November to conduct further ground investigations on the stretch as part of a £3 billion investment by Transport Scotland. 80 miles worth dual carriageway between Perth and Inverness are being upgraded through the investment.
Aviemore Community Council chairman John Grierson said: “I am pleased to hear they are going ahead with the ground investigations as it is work that needs to be done. There will be disruption but that is to be expected and I am sure they will keep it to a minimum.”
The announcement that investigations are to continue comes after public consultations were held with locals in September where plans and arrangements were displayed in Aviemore and Carrbridge.
Mr Grierson added: “After the presentation to the community, the community council put in a further comment of objection over the Milton Wood and layby and we have since heard nothing back other than recognition our comment was received.”
Work on the 15 mile stretch is expected to last 17 weeks with traffic management measures being put in place to protect the workforce. Work is set to cease for two weeks over the Christmas and New Year period.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The latest ground investigations starting next Monday for the 15 mile section between Dalraddy and Slochd includes the section past Aviemore and the challenging Slochd summit – the second highest point on the A9.
“We apologise for any inconvenience these works will cause and would thank road users and local communities in advance for their patience during the works. The contractor will closely monitor the operation of the traffic management measures to ensure that delays are kept to a minimum.
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“While we do not expect major disruption to traffic, we would ask drivers to plan their journeys in advance using the Traffic Scotland website, twitter feed or Traffic Scotland radio.”
Alternate single file traffic sections are to be implemented and will be controlled via temporary traffic signals for the duration of work.
The first stretch of the dualling project opened to traffic last year between Kincraig and Dalraddy. Currently, eight of the nine remaining dualling schemes are now at the draft order stage.
The construction phase of the dualling project between Dalraddy and Slochd is anticipated to last between four and four and a half years.
The 15-mile section is expected to be one of the most challenging in the A9 dualling project.
The Slochd Summit sits at more than 1,300ft – second on the project only to the summit of the Drumochter Pass – and is heavily constrained by rocks and the Inverness to Perth railway line.
The Slochd to Dalraddy section passes Aviemore and Carrbridge where new junctions will be put in place. It also includes 21 pedestrian and cycle crossings, which is the highest number of any of the 12 dualling schemes.
Two bridges will also require expansion with the three-span 475ft Slochd Beag Underbridge and the three-span 262ft River Dulnain Underbridges requiring widened.
The southern end of the project is also constrained by the number of conservation areas and sites of scientific interests, including a nature reserve and an ancient woodland, with peat bogs near to the Highland Mainline railway also requiring finer attention.