More than £300 million has been spent dualling sections of the A9 where construction work has yet to begin, sparking claims the public have a “right to be furious”.
The SNP had promised to dual the road between Perth and Inverness by 2025 but earlier this year revealed this timetable would no longer be met.
Figures released in response to a freedom of information request show just over £458m has been spent on the project to date.
More than £300m – around two thirds of the total – was spent on stretches where the main construction work has yet to begin.
Only two out of 11 sections of the route have been completed so far.
Government roads agency Transport Scotland says this includes spend on the design, statutory process, acquiring all the land required for the scheme, demolition and preparatory works.
‘Public have a right to be furious’
But Laura Hansler, from the A9 Dual Action Group, who want to see the route dualled, said: “The amount of money that went on land that has never been cut is ridiculous.
“To think that money has been spent and nothing has been delivered. The public have a right to be furious.”
First Minister Humza Yousaf promised to deliver an update this autumn on the revised timetable for completing the remaining nine sections.
But there are just days left to go before that timescale is missed. More than a dozen people lost their lives on the route last year.
Ms Hansler added: “We are getting really frustrated. There has been no autumn statement at all as yet.”
Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson said: “The SNP have promised upgrades to the deadly A9 for years, yet over the past decade, they’ve managed to spend £300m on sections where not a single shovel has gone into the ground yet.
“That’s a glaring testimony to their abject failure.
“The pledge to fully dual the road was made as far back as 2007, but the progress has been snail-paced.
“And people will find it astonishing that two-thirds of the money that has been spent has gone on parts of the road where construction hasn’t properly begun.”
Former transport minister Jenny Gilruth revealed last year that the 2025 target to complete the project was “simply no longer achievable” because of economic pressures.
A bid to upgrade the Tomatin to Moy section in the Highlands was rejected over high costs.
What did Transport Scotland say?
A Transport Scotland spokesman said dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness is “one of the biggest and most complex transport infrastructure project in Scotland’s history”.
He added: “These up-front preparation costs are a normal aspect of delivering infrastructure projects of any scale. Delivery follows several consecutive stages: design and assessment of proposals, public and stakeholder consultation, statutory processes, procurement of works contracts and, finally, construction.
“Over £450m has been spent to date on the dualling of the A9 as part of normal preparations. This includes spend on preparatory work for all of the individual projects, as well as spend on land acquisition, construction of the two projects that have been completed to date, Kincraig to Dalraddy and Luncarty to Pass of Birnam, and advance works for future projects.”