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Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon are set to appear at A9 dualling inquiry as MSPs seek answers

By Scott Maclennan

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Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon pictured together in 2007, the year the SNP promised to dual the A9.
Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon pictured together in 2007, the year the SNP promised to dual the A9.

The appearance of former First Ministers Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon at the ongoing A9 inquiry is set to ramp up the heat even further on those in the Scottish Government responsible for the failure to dual the road by 2025.

A petition by A9 campaigner Laura Hansler calling for the whole dualling programme to be finished – after the Scottish Government admitted it would miss its deadline to dual the Inverness-Perth section by 2025 – was escalated into an inquiry by the petitions committee amid a huge range of unanswered questions.

Campaigners want the road to be dualled to make it safer following a number of fatal accidents over several years.

The Scottish Parliament’s petitions committee said the proposed date for the evidence sessions with the former First Ministers who led the country between 2007 and 2023 are May 8 for Mr Salmond and May 29 for Ms Sturgeon.

Committee convener Jackson Carlaw said: “During the course of our A9 Dualling Inquiry, there have been a number of further serious injuries and fatalities on the road, every one of which is an unmitigated tragedy.

“When we launched our call for views at the start of this inquiry, it was clear that the top priorities, for those who use and rely on the road, are completing the promised dualling and improving road safety in the meantime.

“Having taken evidence from a wide range of stakeholders and previous transport ministers, there are still fundamental unanswered questions around why the A9 dualling project was allowed to fall so far behind the originally promised completion date and where responsibility for that failure lies.

“As former First Ministers, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, can hopefully shed some light on the governance and decision-making processes at the very top of government during their time in office and help the committee to understand what needs to change to ensure there will be no backsliding on the new 2035 anticipated completion date.”

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