Upgrading of the A9 from Perth to Inverness is a major infrastructure project for Scotland. Ground investigation work is now underway.
The £3bn project to upgrade the A9 from Perth to Inverness is expected to start on site ahead of schedule next summer.
The overall project will consist predominately of road widening and pavement works.
It is designed to deliver economic growth through improvements to road safety and journey times as well as better links to pedestrian, cycling and public transport facilities.
The project is also aimed at providing greater access to the many tourism and recreation sites along the route of Scotland’s longest trunk road.
But ahead of construction work proper, ground investigation work is already underway.
Described by Scottish transport minister Keith Brown as “an important element of the procurement process”, ground investigation work for the first section of work – a 7.5km stretch from Kincraig to Dalraddy – began in June.
Raeburn Drilling & Geotechnical was awarded the £700,000 contract to carry out the work which is expected to finish in the autumn.
Meanwhile, Soil Engineering has also started on the environmentally sensitive and logistically difficult 8km Birnam to Tay Crossing section. The company, working with consultant URS, was awarded a contract worth over £2M for the work, which is programmed to last 22 weeks.
The objective of the investigation is to form exploratory holes in soil and rock to obtain samples for geotechnical analysis while facilitating insitu testing and the installation and monitoring of in-ground instrumentation.
Work has also started on the section from Luncarty to Pass of Birnam, where Environmental Scientifics Group (ESG) and consultant Jacobs have the contract for ground investigations.
Ground investigation contracts are yet to be awarded for the remaining nine sections of the route.
Meanwhile two of the three design packages across the 129km scheme have already been handed out.
Jacobs started work on the section of the route nearest to Perth this month.
The first contract, for the middle 43km of the A9, between Glengarry and Dalraddy, was awarded to a CH2MHill/Fairhurst joint venture in May.
The third and final design contract, for the section between Dalraddy and Inverness, is expected to be awarded by the end of this year.