DRIVERS endured major disruption after the main road artery to and from the north was closed for several hours when a lorry caught fire, closing the A9 throughout the morning and early afternoon.

A Tesco delivery lorry caught fire at around 2.45am yesterday at Metal Bridge, half-a-mile south of the Slochd summit, between Carrbridge and Inverness.

The old A9, which runs underneath the bridge, was also closed. Initially police reported the A9 closed in both directions at this location with no diversions in place. However, later north and southbound traffic had to head round by Grantown-on- Spey. More than 20 firefighters tackled the blaze, which is believed to have been started by something in the braking system setting one of the wheels alight. The driver of the lorry was not injured.

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Northern Constabulary said yesterday afternoon that the road had been fully reopened in both directions, with temporary traffic lights in operation. But motorists were warned of potential delays.

Tayside Police said the force was involved in assisting Northern Constabulary with the incident.

Engineers were carrying out an inspection of the bridge to assess whether any structural damage might have been caused by the fire.