Three firms shortlisted for £150m A9 job

The UK arm of Madrid-based civils giant Sacyr is competing with Graham and Balfour Beatty for a troubled £150m road-upgrade scheme in the Highlands.

Scottish transport minister Fiona Hyslop this week announced the shortlist for the dualling of the A9 between Tomatin and Moy.

In 2021 the Scottish Government shortlisted Graham, Balfour and Irish contractor Wills Bros to bid on the work. However, the procurement exercise was abandoned earlier this year after the client only received one bid, which was deemed too expensive. The rough cost of the work has since been repriced at £150m, up from £115m.

A fresh contract notice for the 10km dualling job, part of a programme of upgrades along the A9, was published in September using the standard NEC4 agreement.

Hyslop said this week: “The announcement of the shortlisted contractors follows a significant change to the overall contract strategy for this project, which uses a different contract form with a balanced share of risk between the contractor and Scottish ministers.

“The dualling of the section between Tomatin and Moy will not only improve connectivity and safety for those using the route through the upgrading of the single carriageway, but will include more than 10km of improvements to active travel routes, including new footpaths and greater connections to public transport.”

Works will include four new junctions, three new bridges, enhanced lay-bys, fresh footpaths and new bus-turning facilities at Tomatin.

Several preparatory works packages have been completed over the past two years in a bid to de-risk the main construction programme. This included enabling works at Tomatin Distillery, the replacement of Lynebeg rail bridge, the diversion of undertrack culverts and an archaeological investigation.

The award of the main construction contract is expected next summer.

Sacyr has worked on UK projects including the Edinburgh Tram and the A6 toll road in Northern Ireland. Graham has offices in Glasgow and Aberdeen as well as across England and Ireland. Balfour Beatty is the UK’s largest contractor by turnover.

Transport Scotland is delivering a £3bn programme to dual 130km of the A9 from Perth to Inverness.

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