Council chiefs are under mounting pressure to restore funding for a “vital” A9 slip road project.
The work was aimed at easing congestion at the Bankfoot, Stanley and Murthly area, while preparing the local network for dualling on the A9.
The £750,000 scheme – proposed under Perth and Kinross Council’s previous SNP administration – involved an upgrade to a narrow route connecting the A9 to the B9099 at Stanley, known locally as Stewart Tower road.
The plan was shelved as part of council budget cutbacks. It was one of several projects which had funding withdrawn to help pay for the £50 million redevelopment of Perth High School.
At the time, council officers said the money was removed as the impact of the A9 dualling work remained unclear. They said £750,000 was likely to be insufficient for the project.
The Tory-led administration is facing demands from opposition politicians to rethink the decision.
In its budget plan, the local SNP group had proposed pushing ahead with the scheme and double its funding.
Perthshire North MSP John Swinney said: “With the building of new houses in Stanley and Luncarty, in addition to the expansion of Murthly over the past decade, the SNP’s infrastructure improvements were vital to ensuring that these villages are adequately equipped to handle this population growth.
“Indeed, so vital were these road improvements that the SNP sought to increase funding from £800,000 to £1.5 million.”
He said: “By completely cancelling the planned improvements, the Tory council administration have turned their back on the people of Murthly, Stanley and Luncarty.
“I urge the Tory council to reconsider their stance and accept the SNP’s previously-approved proposals for this vital undertaking.”
SNP councillor for Strathtay, Grant Laing added: “These road improvements are vital not only for the Residents of Murthly, Stanley and Luncarty, but also all the commuters and tourists who use these link roads.”
He said: “If these roads were improved the traffic would join the A9 at these points, rather than driving through the aforementioned villages to access the trunk road.
“This would result in less traffic, less noise and less pollution within these villages.”
Conservative councillor Angus Forbes, Convener of the Environment and Infrastructure Committee, said he was due to meet Mr Laing about the issue on Wednesday.
“I was very disappointed that he chose the day before our meeting to publicise this but I was not surprised, this sort of political point scoring is what we have come to expect from the SNP group now they are in opposition,” he said.
“If they managed to find the courage to work with us then we could achieve much more for the people of Perth and Kinross.”
Mr Forbes added: “This Conservative-led administration set aside £20 million over 10 years for infrastructure works for all of Perth and Kinross and we are pushing ahead with our plans to get that money spent to help all of our residents.
“Specifically in relation to the Stewart Tower road, as Councillor Laing and Mr Swinney will know very well, nothing can happen to that road until the Scottish Government make a decision in relation to the dualing process and where the access roads will be, perhaps Mr Swinney could put some pressure on his colleagues to get on with that.”
He added: “The money which Councillor Laing refers to has been sitting in suspense for many years and was never enough to complete the project anyway.”