THE contract to dual a six-mile stretch of the A9 is set to be awarded next month, the Transport Secretary has said, as she defended the SNP’s record on roads.

Fiona Hyslop (below) said three bids have been received for the work to dual the road between Tomatin and Moy in the Highlands.

Last year, the work had to be retendered after only one bid was received – which was significantly higher than the anticipated £115 million cost.

On Wednesday, the Conservatives led a debate at Holyrood on “improving Scotland’s roads”.

The National: Transport Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the contract extension

The party’s transport spokesperson Graham Simpson said: “Scotland’s roads are not fit for purpose due to 17 years of SNP neglect, underfunding and broken promises.

“The SNP’s failure to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness is a shameful betrayal of the local communities that rely on Scotland’s deadliest road.”

He continued: “There were 144 deaths on Scotland’s major trunk roads that go outside the central belt between 2020 and 2023 – and 104 of those were on sections that were not dualled.

“Our local roads are dangerously scarred by potholes due to years of the SNP government starving our councils of cash.”

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Speaking during the debate, Hyslop highlighted a number of road projects completed by the SNP government, including the Aberdeen western peripheral route.

The timetable for completing the A9 work is “realistic” and “means that the Highlands can have confidence that the dualling will be delivered in full by this Government”, she said.

She said: “We will also shortly complete the procurement for the Tomatin to Moy project and I’m pleased to inform members that three tenders were received on May 31, and we expect to award the contract for this project in July.”

Ministers have already indicated that work on the project will begin in the summer.

The Transport Secretary called on the incoming UK government to hold an emergency budget to enable more capital spending.

She also said recent road safety statistics had been “concerning” and she may make a further statement on the matter.

In December 2023, the Scottish Government said the A9 would not be fully dualled until the end of 2035, with ministers admitting their deadline of 2025 is “simply unachievable”.

Last week, former first minister Nicola Sturgeon apologised for the failure to dual the A9 on time but insisted the Scottish Government had not “messed up”.