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'Silence' on A9 scheme

By Alan Hendry

Berriedale Braes, A9, Scottish Government, Rhoda Grant, Derek Mackay, Humza Yousaf
Berriedale Braes, A9, Scottish Government, Rhoda Grant, Derek Mackay, Humza Yousaf

A HIGHLANDS and Islands MSP is putting pressure on the Scottish Government to confirm a start date for the £9 million Berriedale Braes road scheme.

Labour's Rhoda Grant says she wants to know when the improvement project will get under way after what she describes as "years of pushing transport secretaries to get moving" on it.

Mrs Grant has lodged a parliamentary question asking about a starting date and the available funding, claiming there has been a "deathly silence" on what has happened to the scheme.

She said former transport secretary Derek Mackay had made it plain in a reply in 2016 that the Scottish Government "must await suitable funding becoming available to progress it further".

In 2017 the then transport secretary, Humza Yousaf, published made orders for the project "as a clear commitment to deliver the scheme". Then, last February, Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government's transport agency, said "construction or planned improvements to the challenging hairpin bend" were expected to start in 2018. Four companies were invited to bid for the project.

However, in August the agency said it could not give a firm timescale for construction but suggested it could be after Easter or May 2019.

Mrs Grant said: "The public should be given a definite date instead of this shilly-shallying which has taken place over many years."

A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: "The tender competition for the A9 Berriedale Braes improvement scheme has now concluded and is currently in the mandatory standstill period. Construction work is expected to commence in the new year in line with the successful contractors programme."

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