Work will finally get under way at a blackspot A90 junction on Monday, at a stretch of the road that has seen a number of lethal accidents.
Eight weeks of ground investigations will start at the A90/A937 Laurencekirk junction in a move that has been eagerly awaited by campaigners.
The trunk road has previously been named one of the most dangerous in the UK, with the Laurencekirk stretch the scene of a string of fatalities.
The work is a preliminary step before a flyover is built at the site. Florist Jill Fotheringham, from Laurencekirk, began the campaign for action in 2004 following the death of a local man at the junction.
Her efforts paid off in January 2016 when the Scottish Government announced £24 million for the project. Contractor Amey was appointed in September that year.
The commencement of the scheme marks the culmination of a long campaign by Laurencekirk resident Jill Fotheringham, who has spent 14 years lobbying for change.
She said: “I’m delighted to see it physically starting after a couple of years of being talked about.
“I did doubt whether it would ever happen, and there were two or three times when I almost gave up.
“But I’m stubborn and I think I knew how badly we needed it, so every time I heard ‘no you can’t’ I thought, ‘yes, we can’.
“There have been crazy things happening on that road, accidents and so forth, and I’m not sure I could have coped much longer if nothing changed.
“There are people who have been scared to use that junction, so this is just immense.
“These improvements are going to be life-changing for so many people in the community.”
Transport Scotland has warned some traffic management measures will be required to allow work on or near the carriageway to be carried out safely.
A spokesman said: “We are now taking forward the detailed design of the preferred option with a view to publishing draft orders later this year, and these ground investigations will provide the detailed information needed to progress that work.
“We apologise for any inconvenience these works will cause and thank road users and locals in advance for their patience during the works.
“The contractor will closely monitor the operation of the traffic management measures to ensure that delays are kept to a minimum.
“We would ask drivers to plan their journeys in advance using the Traffic Scotland website, Twitter feed or Traffic Scotland radio.”