Balfour scoops £185m Highlands dualling job

Balfour Beatty has nabbed a bumper job to dual part of the A9 in Scotland.

The contract, worth £184.7m, will cover a 9.6km stretch of road between Tomatin and Moy. Once complete, there will be around 33km of continuous dual carriageway stretching from Inverness to Slochd.

It is the first step in the Scottish government’s plan to dual the A9 from Perth to Inverness by 2035, which was announced in December. The Scottish Government said that dualling the road will improve safety and reduce journey times on the A9.

The project cost has increased from £150m to £185m since it was put out to tender back in November. Previously, Transport Scotland valued the work at £115m, but then repriced the project.

The whole dualling programme is expected to cost £3.7bn in total. The Scottish National Party (SNP), which runs the Scottish Government despite not having a majority, reiterated its commitment to the plan in its 2024 general election manifesto.

Scottish cabinet secretary for transport Fiona Hyslop said: “Major transport infrastructure supports the local community and businesses, providing jobs and delivering economic growth throughout the project and beyond.

“It has been fantastic to see the impact contractors working on the advance works have already brought to the local community, and I look forward to delivering further benefits to local businesses and communities through our investment in the construction of this section.”

Transport Scotland is also looking for a contractor to dual the 8.2km section of the A9 between Tay Crossing and Ballinluig, for £155m.

The SNP, which has the largest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament, was in an electoral pact with the Scottish Greens known as the Bute House Agreement until April.

The Scottish Greens opposes new road-building projects, and according to local press pushed the SNP to scrap the dualling of the A9 back in 2020. However, the Bute House Agreement broke down earlier this year after the SNP dropped its commitment to cut carbon emissions by 75 per cent by 2030.

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