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BREAKING: New A9 dualling deadline is 2035, says Scottish Government

By Scott Maclennan

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A new completion date for dualling the A9 from Inverness to Perth has been set.
A new completion date for dualling the A9 from Inverness to Perth has been set.

The new A9 dualling deadline is 2035 – according to the Scottish Government's renewed “delivery programme”.

If that timeline holds then it means the ambitious project will be exactly 10 years late after it foundered under Nicola Sturgeon’s administration. In February, the Scottish Government admitted its promise to complete the dualling of the Inverness-Perth section by 2025 was unachievable.

The new end date conforms to information that emerged last week that it would take about 12 years for a privately financed initiative to finish the dualling.

It is understood the government expects more than half the A9 to be dualled by the end of the decade with work to start on Tomatin-Moy next year.

Confirmation of the first dualling work since 2021 came in yesterday’s Scottish Budget by finance secretary Shona Robison.

It is particularly welcome in what is a treacherous part of the road that has claimed a number of lives – most recently a teenager near Dalmagarry.

Humza Yousaf has made repeated “cast iron” promises to the people of the Highlands that as First Minister he would finish dualling the A9.

At The Inverness Courier Leadership Debate, he said: “This is the priority and the budget has to reflect this.”

Mr Yousaf returned to the Highlands in July and was shown the demands that emerged from the Inverness Courier’s A9 Crisis Summit.

At that time, he said: “We cannot go another year, two years, three years without there being progress on the A9 – it would be unforgivable.”

The response from campaigners like the Dual the A9 Group’s Laura Hansler and Inverness and Nairn MSP Fergus Ewing, who has been especially vociferous on the issue, are expected soon.

But if they find not just the new proposed deadline, but also the terms that it has been expressed in, acceptable, then it could relieve some pressure on Mr Yousaf's leadership – after years of inaction under his predecessor.

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