Published: 05/12/2008 00:00 - Updated: 25/11/2011 15:46

A9 upgrades brought forward in bid to boost economy

PLANNED improvements to the A9 are being brought forward by ministers in an attempt to stimulate the economy and protect jobs. Work costing a total of £8.5 million will take place at Moy, Carrbridge and Bankfoot in one of several projects being progressed more quickly following the Scottish Government's announcement this week that it is to increase spending. Northbound overtaking lanes will be created and the carriageways reconstructed at both Moy and Carrbridge. Junction improvements will also be made at Moy, where work is due to get under way next September. The Carrbridge scheme is due to be begin in February. Nationally an extra £38 million is to be spent this financial year, followed by a further £232 million in 2009 and 2010. It is estimated the move will help support in the region of around 4000 jobs across Scotland. The news was welcomed this week by industry leaders and politicians. "Speeding up these projects will boost the construction industry and the wider business community at a difficult time," said Gareth Williams, Highlands and Islands manager for the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. "We hope that they are also a preview of further good news on key routes for the Highlands and the North East in the Strategic Transport Projects." SNP Highlands and Islands MSP Dave Thompson also welcomed the news. "It is crucial at a time of economic downturn that we take action to support the economy and protect jobs," he said. "I am particularly pleased that improvements to the A9 at Moy and Carrbridge have been brought forward. "This will provide a welcome boost to the Highland economy and help support Highland jobs." Meanwhile, Inverness MP Danny Alexander has welcomed signs that the Inverness Trunk Link Route may yet be earmarked as a priority when ministers unveil future spending plans in the Strategic Transport Projects Review next Wednesday at Holyrood. The Liberal Democrat wrote to transport minister Stewart Stevenson in October calling for work on the Trunk Link Road (TLR) to receive funding by 2010. Responding to the MP Malcolm Reed, the chief executive of Transport Scotland, stated: "The Inverness Trunk Road Link has been identified within the STPR as an area where a number of Scotland's strategic transport corridors converge and the STPR will take account of the importance to Inverness of having good connectivity between these corridors." Mr Alexander said this was the most encouraging sign yet that Inverness may get the bypass it badly deserves.  

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