Part of the £3bn programme to dual the A9 in Scotland has been bought forward two years and will start on site in 2015.
The entire programme involves dualling seven sections of single carriageway covering 80 miles between Perth and Inverness.
An early start will be seen on part of that programme to extend the previous A9 Kincraig to Dalraddy overtaking-lane scheme to a full dualling project.
Dualling the A9 is expected to revolutionise the backbone of Scotland’s road network while significantly improving road safety.
Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment said: “The A9 is the longest trunk road in Scotland and we have always said that delivery by 2025 was challenging but achievable.
“To put the sheer scale of the project in perspective – it is 16 times the length of the recently completed M74 and eight times the length of the M80 between Stepps and Haggs.
“I’m especially delighted to announce we are advancing the Kincraig-Dalraddy section to full dualling and doing so early. This development of the existing scheme will now provide overtaking opportunities in both directions, breaking up platooning and reducing driver frustration.
“Not only are we adding these additional safety benefits, we are also getting underway two years earlier than previously expected.
“Dualling each of these seven existing single carriageway sections represents a major project in it’s own right. Each requires in-depth planning and design to ensure that we deliver the right scheme at the right price and each needs to keep impacts on communities, businesses and the environment to an absolute minimum.
“There is a great deal of detailed work to do and while we’ve taken into account the statutory processes in terms of delivery by 2025, the programme will develop and construction of some sections may overtake others as we progress with our plans.
“In the next 12 months or so, my officials in Transport Scotland will procure the necessary Design, Engineering and Environmental expertise to complement their core team as we develop the scheme and begin the necessary statutory processes.
“By 2015, we expect to have begun and, in some cases, completed the statutory processes to start procurement and then construction.
”In the immediate future, and ongoing, we will continue to invest in short and medium term improvements on the A9 in anticipation of dualling. I have asked the A9 Route Safety Group to investigate and recommend a series of urgent actions to improve safety on the A9 and their first meeting is expected to take place in late July.”