A9 road (Scotland)

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A9 road shield

A9 road
A9 road map.png
Route information
Part of Tabliczka E15.svg E15
Length: 269 mi (433 km)
Major junctions
South end: Polmont
  [ M 9  ] M9 motorway
[ M 876  ] M876 motorway
A91 A91 road
A84 A84 road
[ M 90  ] M90 motorway
A93 A93 road
A85 A85 road
A86 A86 road
A95 A95 road
A96 A96 road
A82 A82 road
A99 A99 road
North end: Scrabster
Stirling, Perth, Inverness, Thurso
Road network

The A9 is a major road running from the Falkirk council area in central Scotland to Scrabster Harbour, Thurso in the far north, via Stirling, Bridge of Allan, Perth and Inverness. At 273 miles (439 km), it is the longest road in Scotland and the fifth-longest A-road in the United Kingdom. Historically it was the main road between Edinburgh and John o' Groats, and has been called the spine of Scotland.[1]

In the south the road's importance has been eclipsed by (1) the A90 across the Forth Road Bridge and the M90 motorway, which now link Edinburgh more directly with Perth, bypassing Stirling and Bridge of Allan as formerly important bridge points, and (2) the M9, which is now the main road between Edinburgh and Bridge of Allan. Between Edinburgh and Falkirk the old A9 route has been reclassified into the A803 and the B9080 amongst others; part of the route between Kirkliston and Maybury no longer exists as the area is now part of Edinburgh Airport. Between Falkirk and Bridge of Allan, the A9 survives as a more or less parallel road to the M9.

The link between the M9 and the A9, by Bridge of Allan, is the Keir Roundabout.


The 138 mile (222 km) section between Bridge of Allan and Inverness, via Perth, was substantially rebuilt during the 1970s, '80s, and early '90s, but it follows essentially the same route except where it bypasses towns and villages instead of running through their centres. Between Perth and Inverness, the road has been dubbed Killer A9,[2] because of accidents and fatalities where dual-carriageway sections merge into single-carriageway - the principal cause being motorists driving at excessive speeds to overtake lines of slower-moving vehicles before the dual carriageway ends. Dangerous overtaking manoeuvres on the long single-carriageway stretches of the road are also common causes of accidents, as are the non-grade separated junctions along the northern sections, where drivers make a right turn across the opposing traffic flow.[3]

Since 2007, the Scottish Government has given serious consideration to converting the entire Perth-Inverness section to dual carriageway with more grade separated junctions, at an estimated cost of £600 million.

In late 2008 the Scottish Government's transport plan for the next 20 years was announced. It brings forward planned improvements to the A9 in an attempt to stimulate the economy and protect jobs.

Work costing a total of £8.5 million was undertaken at Moy, Carrbridge and Bankfoot. Northbound overtaking lanes were created and the carriageway was reconstructed at both Moy and Carrbridge. Junction improvements were also made at Moy.

In November 2011 the Scottish Government announced that it will upgrade the entire road from Perth to Inverness to dual carriageway. Work on this project is expected to start in 2015 is scheduled to be completed in 2025, at a cost of £3 billion.[4]

In July 2013, the Scottish Government announced a plan to install average speed cameras on the A9 between Perth and Inverness. This has been undertaken with an aim to reduce accidents and fatalities on the road, and will be the second permanent average speed camera scheme in Scotland.[5] The A9 ASCS proposal has met with opposition, with a Facebook campaign opposed to the introduction of average speed cameras attracting close to 10,000 supporters.[6]


Highland Main Line and A9 highway next to each other in Perthshire, September 2000

The A9 begins at the M9 junction 5 (Cadgers Brae) north of Polmont and continues through Falkirk, Larbert and Stirling. It then becomes a primary route dual carriageway at the Keir Roundabout and continues as a dual carriageway to Perth bypassing Dunblane, Blackford and Auchterarder.

At Broxden Junction on the outskirts of Perth, the A9 meets the M90 Motorway, carrying traffic from Fife and the Forth Road Bridge. Broxden Junction is one of the busiest and most important road junctions in Scotland, with links to all seven Scottish cities.

The section between Perth and Inverness is often cited as being the most dangerous section of the road, and regularly appears in lists of Scotland's most dangerous roads.[7] This portion of the road is mostly single-carriageway, however there are intermittent short sections of dual carriageway from Perth to Luncarty, Bankfoot to Birnam, Pitlochry to Killiecrankie, south of Drumochter Summit, Slochd Summit to Tomatin and south of Inverness as well as shorter three lane overtaking sections to reduce frustration and accidents. All the towns on this section of the route have now been bypassed.

The section from Keir Roundabout to Inverness had average speed cameras installed in 2014 and at the same time the single carriageway speed limit for HGVs was increased from 40 mph to 50 mph.

In the north, beyond Inverness, the A9 designation has been transferred in response to construction of new bridges across the Moray Firth (the Kessock Bridge), the Cromarty Firth and the Dornoch Firth; and so that the A9 leads not to John o' Groats but to Scrabster Harbour, Thurso, where a government-supported ferry service takes traffic to and from Stromness in Orkney. Therefore various towns and villages which were on the A9 are now seriously distanced from this trunk road.[8]

Between Perth and Inverness, the A9 forms part of Euroroute E15. Inverness is the northern terminus of this route.

Falkirk to Bridge of Allan[edit]

From Falkirk to Bridge of Allan the A9 runs through or near Bannockburn, Plean, Torwood, Larbert and Stirling.

Bridge of Allan to Inverness[edit]

From Bridge of Allan to Inverness the A9 runs through or near Lecropt, Dunblane, Blackford, Auchterarder, Gleneagles, Broxden Junction, Perth, Birnam, Dunkeld, Pitlochry, Blair Atholl, the Grampian Mountains, Dalwhinnie, Newtonmore, Kingussie, Aviemore, Carrbridge, Tomatin and Moy.

Inverness to Thurso[edit]


From Inverness the A9 runs across, through or near the Moray Firth, the Black Isle, Tore, Muir of Ord, Conon Bridge, the Cromarty Firth, Easter Ross, Dingwall, Evanton, Alness, Invergordon, Nigg Bay, Fearn, Tain, the Dornoch Firth, Sutherland, Dornoch, The Mound, Golspie, Dunrobin Castle, Brora, Helmsdale, Caithness, Berriedale (and the Berriedale Braes), Badbea, Dunbeath, Latheron, Mybster, Georgemas and Thurso. The road ends at Scrabster Harbour, Thurso.


From the A96 in the Raigmore area of Inverness the A9 has junctions with other classified roads as follows:

The A9 north of Brora

The A9 ends in Thurso, at Scrabster Harbour (ND101704).


The A9 is mentioned in the James Bond film Skyfall

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 57°17′31″N 3°52′48″W / 57.29206°N 3.87987°W / 57.29206; -3.87987