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A9/Berriedale Braes Improvement

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Berriedale Braes Improvement
Location Map ( geo)
A9 Berriedale Braes Improvement - Jan 2020 construction aerial from East.jpg
Construction work in January 2020
Cameraicon.png View gallery (53)
Scheme Type
Construction Start Date
April 2019
Opening Date
£9.6 million
RJ McLeod
On road(s)

Berriedale Braes Improvement is a road scheme by Transport Scotland realign a hairpin bend on a steep gradient at the village of Berriedale on the A9.

The Berriedale Braes

The Berriedale Braes refers to a section of the A9 in Caithness where the route descends into a steep valley and crosses two watercourses at the village of Berriedale. The road on either side of the valley is a 13% gradient and the north side notable includes a hairpin bend. The name refers to the brae (the Scots word for a slope or hill) on either side of the valley.

Improvements to the road throughout the 20th century meant that this hairpin bend, as of 2019, was wide enough for oncoming cars to pass safely, but the tight radius required large vehicles to occupy the full width of the carriageway.

The project

The improvement consists of a realignment of the road at this hairpin bend, rerouting the road to loop around an old cemetery that sits on the hill above the bend, constructing approximately 500m of new road, partly on a retaining structure and partly in a cutting. The road will still make a complete turn back on itself, but on a curve with a much wider radius.


A9 Berriedale Braes Improvement - Project sign south brae.jpg

The Scottish Government's Strategic Transport Projects Review in 2009 identified a need for targeted measures to reduce accident severity in the north and west of the the country. From this, Transport Scotland identified Berriedale Braes as a location requiring intervention.

In April 2013 Transport Scotland appointed consultants URS (now AECOM) to consider improvement options for Berriedale Braes. Design work took place leading to draft orders being published in November 2014.

One unresolved objection to the orders, regarding the stopping up of a private access, which Transport Scotland deemed to be an unsafe access onto the trunk road, lead to a public local inquiry taking place in April 2016. The reporters recommendation was to proceed with the orders as published and ministerial approval to this was announced in December 2016.

Made orders were published in March 2017 and procurement for construction of the scheme started in August of that year.

Four shortlisted bidders were announced in February 2018 with RJ MacLeod being awarded the contract in January 2019..

Construction got underway in April 2019 with work expected to be complete in Spring 2020.

The road officially opened on 21st August 2020[1].


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Related Pictures
View gallery (252)
B9176 snow gates warning sign on A9.jpgA9 Ord of Caithness - Coppermine - 19876.jpgB - Coppermine - 4603.JPGNigg Roundabout - aerial from South.jpgA9 Berriedale Braes Improvement - February 2019 hairpin long zoom.jpg

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