A further milestone has been reached in the upgrading of the main Aberdeen to Inverness road.
It was announced this week that a contract worth up to £50million is to be awarded by Transport Scotland for dualling the 26-mile section of the A96 east of Huntly.
Subject to the mandatory standstill period, Amey Arup Joint Venture will start design work on the project next month.
Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown, said: “The fact that four tenderers, including joint ventures, competed for this major contract is evidence of the interest in the market engendered by the infrastructure improvements this Government is delivering across the country including in the north.
“This major design contract marks a further milestone towards the dualling of the A96 with all the investment and improvements that it will bring to local economies right across the north of Scotland.
“Road users will not only enjoy the benefits of improved journey time and reliability, better connectivity between destinations but also, crucially, improved road safety for all those who use this key artery connecting two of Scotland’s economic hubs.”