Ground investigation work is underway on the £3bn project to upgrade 129km of single carriageway along the A9 between Perth and Inverness.
Three of the 12 site investigation contracts for the project have now been awarded, with Raeburn Drilling & Geotechnical the latest firm to win a contract. The firm has a £700,000 contract to carry out ground investigations on the 7.5km Kincraig to Dalraddy section, and will begin work later this month. The work is expected to take four months.
Meanwhile, Soil Engineering will next week start work on the environmentally sensitive and logistically difficult 8km Birnam to Tay Crossing section. The company, working with constultant 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.
The remaining nine sections of the route will undergo investigation over the next three years, and the Scottish government expects to see construction start in late 2015 or early 2016.
Scottish transport minister Keith Brown said: “Having visited Dunkeld last week to see the start of ground investigations for the Birnam to Tay Crossing stretch, with the Luncarty to Pass of Birnam section scheduled for completion in 2019, and with route options now on public display for the nine other sections - we are making good headway to completing over half of the dualling programme by 2022.”