Preparatory work is starting on the Aberdeen by-pass.
Transport minister Keith Brown, pictured, visited the North-east on Monday to see the latest phase of construction on the AWPR, which takes in the A90 Balmedie to Tipperty section.
Connect Roads, who will build the 28-mile route, are beginning preparation work this week.
It includes enhancing designs, environmental surveys, fencing and ground investigation before the start of the main contract.
North-east politicians have described it as an “important step forward”.
Aberdeenshire East MSP Alex Salmond said: “Groundworks are already well underway and it is excellent news that further design and investigation work will start this week.
“This important project will improve journey times and reduce congestion for commuters and businesses alike – especially when looked at alongside the significant upgrade to the A96 at Inveramsay – also underway – and the commitment to dual the A96 from Aberdeen to Inverness.
“I am delighted that we are a step closer to seeing the route take shape.”
The long-awaited £745 million project is expected to create around 900 jobs during the construction phase.