The Scottish Government is set to award a contract for the dualling of a section of the beleaguered A9 to a construction giant.

Balfour Beatty will be tasked with dualling the road between Tomatin and Moy, at a cost of £184.7 million, Transport Scotland announced on Tuesday.

The Scottish Government has been roundly criticised for its failure to dual the road between Perth and Inverness – despite having set a target of 2025 for doing so.

A new target of 2035 has since been set.

READ MORE: Scottish Government 'focused' on A9 dualling says John Swinney

Transport Secretary Fiona Hyslop said once construction begins on the six-mile stretch, it will not stop “until dualling between Perth and Inverness is complete”.

“The award of this contract for A9 Dualling: Tomatin to Moy will start our rolling programme of construction to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness and reinforces our steadfast commitment to deliver on our plan,” she added.

“Major transport infrastructure supports the local community and businesses, providing jobs and delivering economic growth throughout the project and beyond.

“It has been fantastic to see the impact contractors working on the advance works have already brought to the local community, and I look forward to delivering further benefits to local businesses and communities through our investment in the construction of this section.”

It was issues with the Tomatin to Moy section which led to former transport minister Jenny Gilruth saying the initial 2025 deadline was “unachievable”.

A previous attempt to secure work resulted in just one tender which far exceeded the £115 million anticipated cost and did not represent value for money for the taxpayer.

Responding to the news that the contract for dualling the Tomatin to Moy section of the A9 has now been awarded, Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire MP Angus MacDonald said: “It took NASA 11 years to put a man on the moon but it’s going to take the SNP almost 30 years to dual the A9.  

“Any scraps of progress are to be welcomed but for as long as the full road remains incomplete the highland economy will continue to be held back and tragic road deaths will continue to mount up.

“Given their previous record, the Scottish Government are going to have to work extremely hard to win back the trust of people who rely on this road.

"I will continue to stand up for people in Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire who want to see the full stretch completed after so many years of false dawns."