Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon says she is sorry a commitment to dual the A9 from Inverness to Perth by 2025 could not be met.

She told a Holyrood inquiry she was not apologising because the SNP or Scottish government had “messed up”, but because the £3bn project had faced significant challenges beyond their control, including from Brexit and the Covid pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I want to be clear that I do not accept that the failure to meet that target was because we just didn’t bother and we weren’t trying to meet that target.”

The Scottish government made a commitment in 2011 to complete the project by 2025, but in February last year said the target was “unachievable”.

In December, Transport Secretary Mairi McAllan announced a new rolling programme of improvements and said there would be “no let up” in the work.

Two sections of single carriageway totalling 11 miles (18km) of road have been upgraded over the past decade – but 77 miles of the route has still to be dualled.

Holyrood’s citizen participation and petitions committee is gathering evidence on delays to the project.

Ms Sturgeon said the 2025 target was made in good faith, but she went on to pose the question whether the cabinet at the time was as candid with itself and the public about just how challenging the project was.

Want to see more SNP fails? – Health Matters

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