Major progress has been made on the A9 dualling as Following a Public Local Inquiry held in January 2020 and recommendations made by the Reporter, Scottish Ministers have given the go-ahead for completing the statutory procedures for the A9 Dualling Killiecrankie to Glen Garry scheme.
This significant decision for the ambitious programme to dual the A9 means that 92% of the programme now has Ministerial decisions to make Orders and complete the statutory process.
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “I am well aware of the sensitivities around what is an important battlefield at Killiecrankie. The site is of historical and cultural significance, which is why Transport Scotland has been engaging extensively with the local community and key stakeholders since 2012.
“Having published draft orders for the Killiecrankie to Glen Garry scheme in November 2017, Transport Scotland made a number of design refinements to reduce land take on the battlefield site following feedback from Historic Environment Scotland and the local community.
“However, as Transport Scotland was unable to resolve all of the objections to the scheme, a Public Local Inquiry was held in January 2020. Following careful consideration of the Reporter’s findings, conclusions and recommendations, I have determined that the Orders for the A9 scheme should be made. I want to thank everyone who submitted representations and to give an assurance that those representations have been carefully considered.
“This significant decision now clears the way for publication of the Made Orders. Subject to there being no challenge we will then be in a position to complete the statutory process for the scheme and acquire the land to build it.
“Work to determine the most suitable procurement options for the remaining sections of the A9 dualling is also ongoing. This is a complex exercise which looks at a number of factors including how the project can be delivered most efficiently by the industry, whilst minimising disruption to road users and helping to support economic recovery post-COVID. An update on the outcomes of this complex piece of work will be provided to Parliament.
“When completed the A9 Dualling programme will bring many benefits to local communities, businesses, visitors and road users living, travelling and working along the corridor including reduced journey times, improved journey time reliability, improved road safety and opportunities for active travel.”
The existing A9 already runs through the Killiecrankie Battlefield and some of the battlefield will be impacted by the Dualling.
The proposed scheme attempts to minimise the impact by utilising as little land as possible, with the mitigation in the published Environmental statement is intended to reduce this impact.
In developing the scheme, archaeological metal detecting and trial trenching surveys have been undertaken. These have helped inform both the dualling plans and also improve the knowledge of the battle of Killiecrankie in 1689.
Further work to offset the impacts will be developed with input from interested parties, including Historic Environment Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland and Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust. In addition, archaeological excavations will be undertaken in advance of or during construction to make a permanent record of any affected archaeological remains.
The Government remains committed to investment in the A9, including dualling the road between Perth and Inverness, with work currently progressing the procurement for the Tomatin to Moy section and as well as design work on the rest of the programme.
The only section now not to have started the statutory process is the Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing project, where design and assessment is ongoing to identify a preferred route option following the innovative co-creative process with the local community and work is progressing on announcing a preferred route for this section.
More information on the A9 dualling can be found at https://www.transport.gov.scot/projects/a9-dualling-perth-to-inverness/