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SNP has spent over £300m on A9 sections where construction phase hasn’t even begun

The SNP’s “abject failure” to dual the A9 is laid bare in damning new figures showing that £300million has been spent over the last decade on sections where the construction phase hasn’t even begun.

Responses to Scottish Conservative Freedom of Information requests reveal that £451m was spent on A9 improvements between 2012 and 2022 – less than one-sixth of Transport Scotland’s £3bn cost estimate to fully dual the road. 

Almost two-thirds of this £451m was spent on stretches where the main construction work has yet to start.

Criticising the nationalists’ “failure to make good on their promises”, shadow transport spokesman Graham Simpson pointed out that the SNP first pledged to dual the road in 2007, and that it was supposed to be completed by 2025.

He added that the SNP’s “broken promises and sheer incompetence” had let down road users and businesses, and contributed to the tally of fatal accidents on the notorious Perth-Inverness route.

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson MSP said: “The SNP have promised upgrades to the deadly A9 for years, yet over the past decade, they’ve managed to spend £300m on sections where not a single shovel has gone into the ground yet.

“That’s a glaring testimony to their abject failure.

“The pledge to fully dual the road was made as far back as 2007, but the progress has been snail-paced.

“And people will find it astonishing that two-thirds of the money that has been spent has gone on parts of the road where construction hasn’t properly begun.

“The SNP’s broken promises and sheer incompetence have betrayed local communities and those who rely on the A9. 

“Road users and businesses have been let down for years, and fatal accidents have persisted, thanks to the nationalists’ failure to make good on their promises.”

 

Notes

 

The Scottish Government, since 2012, has spent only £451million on dualling the A9. This is in spite of the fact that, first, they repeatedly pledged to dual the A9 by 2025, and second, Transport Scotland’s estimate of the cost of dualling the A9 is £3 billion in 2008 £s. (Scottish Government FOI Release, 3 October 2023 available on request; SNP Manifesto, 5 April 2007, link; Transport Scotland A9 dualling project, accessed 4 October 2023, link).

Nearly two thirds of Scottish Government spending on A9 improvement since 2012 has been on sections whose construction is yet to begin. This includes over £301m on the sections between Pass of Birnam and Kincraig, and between Dalraddy and Slochd, between Tomatin and Moy, and at the Longman junction. (Scottish Government FOI Release, 3 October 2023, available on request).

Pre-construction costs for the A9 have largely gone on ‘preparation costs (including design consultants)’, ‘land purchase and compensation’, and ‘ground investigation and surveys’. (Scottish Government FOI Response, 1 November 2023, available on request).