A long-awaited flyover on the A90 has taken a step forward.
Transport Scotland hopes to appoint consultants early this autumn to assist with the upgrading of the A90 Laurencekirk junction.
Earlier this year, ministers announced a £24 million funding package to improve the notorious crossing.
The work will include a route option assessment and the development of a preferred junction option, leading to the preparation of draft road orders.
It comes despite Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown saying last month that he did not know when the £24m scheme would be carried out, and suggested it could take up to a decade.
The road upgrade is part of £504m of investments allocated to the North-east of Scotland to improve infrastructure and attract jobs.
An update, which is to be given to members of regional transport body Nestrans next week, states: “Transport Scotland has started the process to appoint consultants to take forward the next phase of design for the junction upgrade.”
It adds: “The aim is to appoint consultants by early autumn.”