Completion of A9 improvements
The completion of work to improve a key section of the A9 at Helmsdale will increase safety, reduce driver frustration and provide more overtaking opportunities, Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said today.
Mr Stevenson was speaking as he visited the site of a £5.45 million investment in the A9 between Helmsdale and Ord of Caithness.
The Transport Minister said:
"The A9 is a key artery in Scotland's transport network and it is vital that we continue to invest in improvements to the road on a continuing and progressive basis.
"This £5.45 million investment will increase safety, reduce driver frustration and provide more overtaking opportunities for those using the road.
"It will also deliver improved connections for local people, businesses and tourists alike and provide better access to the Scrabster ferry terminal.
"The Helmsdale improvements completed today are just one part of investment in the A9 amounting to some £50 million over the next four years.
"Options for how best to dual the A9 will emerge from the Strategic Transport Projects Review which will report to Ministers shortly."
The project, constructed by contractor RJ McLeod on behalf of Transport Scotland, consists of a total of 1.3 miles (2.1km) of new road, removing the extreme bends and easing the steep gradients.
The scheme ties into the previously constructed Phase 1 scheme and extends the existing northbound overtaking lane. In addition, access for local communities has been greatly improved with the construction of a roundabout, providing a safe means of access between the new A9 and Navidale, and the provision of new junctions to Navidale Cemetery Road and Navidale House Hotel.
Pedestrian access has also been improved with the provision of a new footpath and street lighting between East Helmsdale and the new roundabout.
The previous section of the A9 through this section has now been "de-trunked" becoming a combined footway, cycleway and access road for the local community.
The scheme secured a grant of £1 million from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the £210 million European Community Support provided to the Highlands and Islands as part of the Highlands and Islands Special Transitional Programme (HISTP).