THE Scottish Government has launched a new procurement competition for the dualling of the A9 between Tomatin and Moy.
The contract notice for the construction of the £150 million A9 Dualling: Tomatin to Moy project has been published, following a market consultation exercise resulting in a new contract designed to attract more bidders.
The contract is expected to be awarded in early summer 2024, with the project anticipated to take around three years to build.
The first minister announced the launch of the new procurement during a parliamentary statement on the programme for government.
Màiri McAllan, cabinet secretary for transport, net zero and just transition, commented further on the announcement, saying, “I know that today’s announcement will be a welcome update for communities and businesses across the A9 corridor. Progression of the A9 Dualling Programme continues to be a priority for this Government and today’s announcement underlines our commitment to one of the largest, most complex infrastructure programmes in Scotland’s history.
“Road safety is of paramount importance to both myself, and this Government, and I understand how vital dualling the A9 is to the communities and businesses that rely on the A9 each day. Today’s announcement is another positive step towards full dualling and I can assure you that my officials and I continue to work urgently to progress the remainder of this critical programme.
“The Tomatin to Moy section, once completed, will contribute to our shared vision for Scotland – a connected Scotland, with safe, accessible transport systems for all of our communities and businesses, as well as the tourists we welcome each year. It also allows us to set new aspirations for carbon reduction in construction whilst creating employment and training opportunities that benefit the communities surrounding this project.”
The announcement follows an ‘extensive’ market consultation undertaken by Transport Scotland to understand the views of the sector.
As a result of this engagement, the updated contract strategy uses both a new form of contract, preferred by the industry and used widely across the UK, as well as a ‘more balanced approach’ to the sharing of risk between the Scottish ministers and the contractor. This new procurement is said to represent a significant change in the way that Transport Scotland contracts its major infrastructure projects.
Grahame Barn, MD of The Civil Engineering Contractor’s Association (CECA), commented, “All construction projects – particularly large-scale projects – have a significantly greater chance of a positive outcome for both client and contractor when meaningful collaboration is undertaken ahead of, and as part of, any procurement process.
“CECA is grateful for the substantial consultation Transport Scotland has undertaken with me, CECA member companies and the wider contracting industry to enable them to develop a new form of contract that seeks to address many of the concerns previously expressed by industry.
“The move to NEC4 is a welcome change and aligns Transport Scotland with other major clients across the UK. Whilst this contract is to be an amended version of NEC4, I am comforted by the assurances that the changes are mostly around process and do not, once again, transfer significant risk from the client to the contractor.
“A considerable body of work has had to be undertaken by Transport Scotland to ensure that the terms and conditions of their new contract work for both the taxpayer and the contracting industry. This has, rightly, taken time to execute properly and I am confident that with this change to an amended NEC4 contract, contractors will view the Tomatin to Moy dualling as being attractive to bid.”