Balfour Beatty is set to win a deal to construct to dual 9.5km of the A9 between Luncarty and Pass of Birnam in Scotland, in a project worth £96M overall.
The firm beat off rival bids from Dragados, Wills Bros Civil Engineering and a joint venture between Farrans Construction and Roadbridge.
The job involves building 9.5km of new dual carriageway, constructing the Luncarty to Pass of Birnam section with four new overbridges to maintain local access across the A9, along with the widening of one existing underbridge and the provision of a new side road bridge.
Meanwhile, Transport Scotland is pushing ahead with work on the A9 dualling project by confirming the line of the 24km section between Dalraddy and Slochd.
The landmark stretch crosses the Slochd summit, which is 401m above sea level and is considered the most difficult part of the £3bn project.
There is widespread support for the A9 improvement works between Inverness and Perth, but other parts of the 125km upgrade have attracted local opposition. More than 200 objections were received about a 1.6km section of the route through the historic Killiecrankie Battlefield, the site where the Jacobite rebellion began in 1689. That section is now facing a public inquiry.
Scottish cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, Michael Matheson said: “Work is continuing across the A9 between Perth and Inverness to complete the dualling of the route by 2025. This is one of the biggest transport infrastructure projects in Scotland’s history, and we remain on target to meet our commitment.
“When completed, our ambitious programme will bring many benefits for road users, communities and businesses who live along or use this important route between central Scotland and the Highlands & Islands.
“Road users are benefiting from the new dualled stretch between Kincraig and Dalraddy which opened to traffic last year and advance works are already under way on the next section to be dualled between Luncarty and Pass of Birnam with construction expected to begin in the coming months.
“The publication of the draft Orders for the Dalraddy to Slochd section that crosses the challenging Slochd summit, means that we have now published draft Orders for nearly all of the dualling schemes.”
Transport Scotland has admitted the Dalraddy to Slochd stretch contains a number of challenges, including hard geology, the need to widen both the Slochd Beag underbridge and River Dulnain underbridge, and a number of sensitive conservation sites.