Design work goes out as A9 dualling accelerates

‘The sheer scale makes it good value to split it up’

THREE of the biggest Scottish Government funded design contracts ever to be put out to tender will help pave the way for the dualling of the notorious A9.

Transport Scotland has published a prior information notice for design work on the project in a move that signals the start of procurement. Three separate contracts, each with a value of £40m-£60m, are available. The contracts will cover the A9 between Perth and Inverness, with the actual area covered by each contract to be determined during the procurement process.
Transport minister Keith Brown said the £3 billion “complex and challenging” programme will be one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Scotland’s history. “The sheer scale, 80 miles of dual carriageway, makes it good business and value for money to split this design work into three large sections.”
“The start of procurement for the detailed design work is a clear indication of our commitment to this project. These contracts will provide steady work for the next 12 years for the three successful bidders – providing much-needed certainty and helping to secure jobs. In addition, these commissions are likely to offer many opportunities for small and medium enterprises through sub-consultancy work.”
Transport Scotland said it will engage with the consulting engineering industry ahead of issuing the OJEU notice in the summer to seek expressions of interest from companies wishing to tender.
Bids are also being sought for aerial topographical surveys as part of the A9 and A96 dualling programmes. The contract will help support the corridor wide preliminary design work on the A9 that is underway. At the same time aerial surveys will be carried out on the A96, where work is not as far advanced, to help guide the preliminary engineering services work that will start soon on the route.
Commenting on the contract for aerial surveys, Brown said: “There is a great amount of work now going on to take forward this Government’s commitment to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness by 2025.
“This aerial survey work will build on the engineering and environmental work well underway and the ground investigation work currently going on along the Luncarty to Pass of Birnam section of the route.
“Along with our plans to dual the A9, we are also committed to dual the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen by 2030. Although this work is not as far advanced, this topographical work will complement the preliminary engineering work that is to get underway shortly as we start to develop our plans to dual this vital route which links Scotland’s two northernmost cities.”
An outline strategy for dualling the A96 is expected to be completed soon and further details of how the work will be taken forward will be announced shortly after.

A traffic bottleneck in the north-east is to be eased after Transport Scotland awarded a £3m design contract to engineering consultant Jacobs.
Subject to the mandatory standstill period, work is expected to get underway this month to confirm the preferred design and undertake the necessary surveys, checks and statutory processes at the Haudagain site.
The design work will ensure construction of the scheme can begin after the AWPR/Balmedie-Tipperty project is completed in 2018.