The £3 billion programme to make all of the A9 from Inverness to Perth a dual carriageway will start earlier than planned, it has been revealed.
The Scottish government has confirmed that the improvement works will now begin by 2015-16, rather than 2017-18 as previously announced.
Under the new timetable, the first phase of the programme to start will see the current overtaking-lane scheme on the A9 from Kincraig to Dalraddy replaced with a full dualling section.
At present, there are around 80 miles of single carriageway between the cities.
Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment, claimed that it is still achievable for the government to complete the entire A9 project by 2025.
"I'm especially delighted to announce we are advancing the Kincraig-Dalraddy section to full dualling and doing so early," he said.
"This development of the existing scheme will now provide overtaking opportunities in both directions, breaking up platooning and reducing driver frustration."
To date, the government has spent £50 million improving parts of the A9 from Inverness to Perth, with seven sections still to be upgraded to dual carriageway.
Author: Editor Gavin Pearson (email@example.com or 0207 202 0255)