Eight well-respected design consultancies or joint ventures have made shortlist for these A9 Dualling contracts. They are :
• AECOM/Mott MacDonald
• CH2M Hill/Fairhurst
• WSP/Ramboll/Fehily Timoney
Invitations to Tender for the contracts, each worth in the region of £40-60 million, are expected to issue next month
Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
"The A9 Dualling Programme is the most expensive transport project in Scotland's history and presents some of the most challenging work ever witnessed.
“Some very complex and demanding challenges undoubtedly lie ahead, but given our track record on other major projects we are confident of delivery on time and on budget. It shouldn’t be forgotten that this is the first time any government has committed to dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness, the biggest transport project, by cost, in Scotland's history, and one that will exceed the cost of the M74, Queensferry Crossing, and AWPR combined.
"The strength and expertise of these bidders, including some of the UK's biggest design consultancies, is testament to the recognition that this ambitious project has in the engineering consultancy market.
"These three large contracts offer the prospect of steady work for the next 12 years for the three successful bidders. They will also offer many opportunities for small and medium enterprises through sub-consultancy work.
"We fully recognise the A9 dualling project is vital for safety and the further economic development of the communities served by the road. The fact that we expect over half of the dualling programme to be completed by 2022 shows our commitment to deliver improvements for users of the route as soon as possible.”
The national transport agency also announced that the contract notice for important ground investigation work on the challenging Birnam to Tay Crossing section of the route would be published early next month.
Mr Brown said:
"There are many challenges along this route which passes through areas that are hugely important in terms of Scotland's wildlife and landscape. One such section is Birnam to Tay Crossing, where we are working to minimise any impact to properties, the railway and the environment.
"The publication of the contract notice for GI works on this section next month will start the tender process for these important ground investigations which will give us the detailed information needed to take forward the scheme.
"This once again helps to emphasise the careful in-depth planning and design required for this £3 billion infrastructure project.”