Transport Scotland

Contingency plans take hold in wake of Carillion collapse

Carillion is part of a coalition delivering the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR)

Clients and joint ventures partners of collapsed contractor Carillion have taken steps to begin contingency plans after the firm entered compulsory liquidation today.

An application was made to the High Court for a compulsory liquidation of the UK’s second largest construction company before opening of business this morning after talks with the UK government to save the company were unsuccessful.

The firm had been involved in the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) and had contracts with Registers of Scotland, the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, West of Scotland Housing Association and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde among many others.

Network Rail awarded Carillion a contract last year to deliver platform extension works and the firm is also responsible for two facilities management contracts worth £158m with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which cover 83 military sites in Scotland.

Contingency plans have now been put into effect with the hope to minimise disruption to the projects.

Galliford Try is in joint venture with Carillion and Balfour Beatty on the construction of the £550m section of the AWPR between Balmedie and Tipperty for Transport Scotland.

“The Scottish Government are in discussions with the liquidators and the UK government to support Carillion employees and secure the completion of contracts.”

Economy secretary Keith Brown

Galliford Try said: “The terms of the contract are such that the remaining joint venture members, Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try, are obliged to complete the contract.  Our current estimate of the additional cash contribution outstanding from Carillion to complete the project is £60-80m, of which any shortfall will be funded equally between the joint venture members. The companies will discuss the position urgently with the official receiver of Carillion and Transport Scotland, to minimise any impact on the project.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman reiterated the bypass project will be completed by the spring.

He said: “We expect that any impact on the AWPR will be mitigated by the fact that Carillion’s construction partners are joint and severally liable and as such, the other two construction partners remain fully responsible for the completion of the works.

“Aberdeen Roads Limited, the construction joint venture for the project, confirmed recently that they remain committed to the delivery of this project.”

Amey has incorporated joint ventures with Carillion to deliver the regional prime and national housing contracts for the MoD, through the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). These contracts maintain the MOD estate in the UK.

It said: “The terms of the joint ventures’ arrangements mean that Amey will continue the services now that Carillion has announced it is entering into immediate compulsory liquidation. Amey is committed to doing this and ensuring continuity of service to the DIO and MOD and the service men and women in the UK.

“For the past few weeks, Amey has been working on detailed contingency plans with the DIO and the Cabinet Office to ensure it can effectively continue to manage the contracts and these are being implemented today.

“Amey confirms it is fully prepared to continue the service obligation of the contracts without adverse effect on the employees of the joint ventures or the supply chain.”

Network Rail commissioned Carillion for both the Waverley platforms extension project and the electrification of the railway line through Shotts.

In addition, the firm was also contracted for platform works at Broughty Ferry and Aberdeen railway stations.

Carillion Powerlines secured an £11.6m contract to carry out electrification work on the Shotts line in December

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are activating our contingency plans as a result of this unfortunate news.

“We will be working closely with the administrators and Carillion’s management team to ensure projects that they are working on continue and that the supply chain is maintained for this important work.

“Our aim is to ensure that this news has as little impact as possible on our projects to grow and expand the railway network.”

Kier Group, which currently operates joint ventures involving Carillion on HS2 and the Highways England smart motorways programme, jobs, will now have to take them on alone or seek a new partner.

A Kier spokeswoman said: “We have put in place contingency plans for each of these projects and are working closely with clients so as to achieve continuity of service.

“Following today’s announcement and after a short period of transition for these contracts, we do not expect there to be an adverse financial impact on the group arising from these joint venture contracts.”

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) said that it was “taking steps to secure the future of the 1,400 Carillion apprentices” by redeploying them to other firms.

CITB chief executive, Sarah Beale, said: “The news of Carillion entering insolvency is clearly a significant blow to the UK construction sector. While this will present the sector with a number of challenges, CITB’s priority is to do all it can to ensure that Carillion apprentices can continue their training so their skills are not lost.

“We have established a project team to work with the apprentices and will be offering in principle grant and apprenticeship transfer incentives to our employer base in order to retain these learners. We will be working closely with the ESFA, the official receiver and our network of college providers so that every possible support is in place to help these apprentices continue their training. We will be liaising with the official receiver with a view to contacting the apprentices as soon as possible.”

The Scottish Government said it is in talks to support Carillion employees and secure the completion of contracts in Scotland.

Cabinet secretary for the economy, Keith Brown, said: “Our first thoughts are with those Carillion employees who will be concerned for their jobs today and we are in discussions with the liquidators and the UK government regarding the measures they intend to put in place regarding private sector, Network Rail and UK govternment-backed contracts in Scotland to support Carillion employees and to secure the completion of these contracts.

“The Scottish Government has been working to manage or eliminate risks associated with Carillion’s difficulties since July last year and we have contingency plans in place for affected contracts, including the AWPR where the contract contains a mechanism for the remaining two joint venture partners to deliver the project and we expect that work to continue.

“I have spoken to the Secretary of State for Scotland this morning and my officials have also spoken with PwC to establish the situation and should it be necessary we stand ready to support for any affected employees through our Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative which aims to minimise the time individuals affected by redundancy are out of work.”

Unfinished Glasgow Queen Street Station building ‘could be knocked down’

How the Glasgow Queen Street Station will look once completed

A partially constructed building that forms part of the Glasgow Queen Street Station project could be demolished as officials consider a larger development, according to reports.

Transport Scotland has ordered a review of the building in the car park, for rail staff and shops, as part of expanding the station to accommodate new electric trains on the main line to Edinburgh this year. The trains are finally due to start running in March, but other delays to the £800 million Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (Egip) have already put back completion of the station until 2020.

Now The Scotsman has reported that officials are considering bringing down part of the ongoing project in favour of a larger development in the car park.

According to the newspaper, the estimated cost of the U-turn is between £3m and £15m.

Network Rail said: “We have paused work while we explore potential changes to the scope with the Scottish Government.

“If the discussions result in a new development, then we’d most likely have to remove the steelwork.”

Transport Scotland said it would not delay longer trains and faster journeys in December, platforms being extended by December 2019 and the station concourse and frontage being completed by spring 2020.

A spokeswoman said: “Following the conclusion of Scottish minister-led discussions, options for an alternative development at the North Hanover Street site are being explored. These are expected to conclude in the coming weeks.

“All other works continue as planned.”

List of incomplete Queensferry Crossing snagging works revealed

A list of 23 jobs which are needed to be done before the Queensferry Crossing project is finally declared finished has been released by Transport Scotland.

The works, which are scheduled to take until at least September to complete, include concrete, painting and various maintenance tasks.

‘Architectural lighting’ to illuminate the £1.35 billion structure has also to be finished.

Transport Scotland said that most lane closures will take place at night and away from peak times to minimise inconvenience for drivers.

Snagging includes galvanising repairs to the “vehicle restraint system”, work on windshielding post bolts and louvres and “bearing remedials” on two of the bridge piers.

There is also snagging to road lighting and road drainage. Other tasks include completion of equipment inside the bridge deck, such as a dehumidification system to protect against corrosion, a network of monitors that provide alerts of any structural problems, and the tower lifts.

Four painting tasks, involving the outside and inside of the structure, won’t even start until the spring. Concrete “finishing” is needed on the towers, piers and deck edge cantilevers.

Contractors have identified snagging works which require the lifting of the surfacing around the bridge expansion joints

The Scottish Government has stressed the list of outstanding work refers to a range of tasks that have always been intended to be completed after the route opened to traffic.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The remaining work has a minimal impact on traffic using the bridge and involves tasks such as under-deck painting, which needs to be undertaken during the spring and summer months, the bridge control room, and work inside the bridge deck and towers.”

Transport Scotland has also published a list of ongoing and planned work for the Forth Road Bridge over the coming months.

An intrusive investigation and inspection of the bridge’s main cables is due to begin in spring, while work to replace truss end links – the part which caused the emergency closure in December 2015 – is ongoing and should be completed soon.

Resurfacing, waterproofing and work to replace under deck access are among the jobs programmed for 2018.

Ongoing and planned works for Queensferry Crossing in full

  1. Complete managed motorway. Target date: end January
  2. Completion of deck internal mechanical and electrical (dehumidification, structural health monitoring, deck shuttle, tower lifts). Target date: end March, but tower lifts end September
  3. Completion of mechanical and electrical in abutments and general finishing work. Target date: end March
  4. Completion of bridge control room systems (structural health monitoring, SCADA). Target date: end March
  5. Concrete finishing, towers, piers and deck edge cantilevers. Target date: end September
  6. Commissioning of tower maintenance access platforms. Target date: end March
  7. Commissioning of cable maintenance access cradles. Target date: end March
  8. Load verification test for weigh in motion and structural health monitoring system . Target date: end May
  9. Bearing remedials at piers S1 and S3. Target date: end July
  10. Completion of internal painting. Target date: March-end September
  11. Touch-up external painting (repair chips to paint from handling damage. Target date: March to end Sep
  12. Galvanising repairs to vehicle restraint system (zinc paint). Target date: March to end September
  13. Complete painting of dampers. Target date: March to end September
  14. Completion of architectural lighting. Target date: end March
  15. Monitoring of towers at cable anchorages. Target date: March
  16. Alignment of underdeck inspection gantry rails. Target date: end June
  17. Commissioning of underdeck gantries. Target date: end July
  18. Adjustment of windshield louvres. Target date: end Feb
  19. Snagging works to windshield post bolts and additional works to wind shield louvres. Target date: end June
  20. Finishing work to baseplate grout at windshields and vehicle restraint system. Target date: end Feb
  21. Snagging to road lighting. Target date: end March
  22. Road drainage snagging. Target date: end March
  23. Planting works. Target date: 26 March

Source: Transport Scotland

A720 Sheriffhall flyover contract awarded

Humza Yousaf

A contractor has been selected to take forward ground investigations as part of the work to build a flyover on the busy Sheriffhall junction on the Edinburgh City Bypass.

Transport Scotland has announced the award of a £1.2 million ground investigation contract to Soil Engineering GeoServices Ltd.

The work is programmed to start in January and is expected to be on site for a period of three months.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “Motorists using the Edinburgh City Bypass are well aware of the traffic bottleneck at the Sheriffhall roundabout. As the only junction on the A720 trunk road which is not grade-separated, it is often the scene of congestion and significant queuing, particularly at morning and evening peak times.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to delivering improvements at this busy junction and having let the public see and comment on the preferred option earlier this year, we have stepped up the design work with vital ground investigations to get underway early next year.

“The preferred option will grade separate the junction, separating local traffic from the strategic traffic on the bypass and will allow the traffic on the bypass to flow freely, improving road safety and journey times for all road users. The completed scheme will also include provision for non-motorised users, including cyclists.

“We are taking forward the detailed development and assessment of the preferred option, with a view to publishing draft Orders for the scheme in 2019 for formal comment.”

Aberdeen bypass contractor fined over river pollution

SEPA chief executive Terry A’Hearn

The consortium building the new Aberdeen bypass has been issued with a £280,000 penalty for a series of silt pollution incidents on the rivers Don and Dee.

Aberdeen Roads Limited, a joint venture including Balfour BeattyMorrison Construction and Carillion, was deemed responsible for the incidents on the important salmon rivers along with some tributaries.

The case if the first major enforcement of new powers by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and will see over £280,000 committed to community projects and environmental improvements across Aberdeenshire.

Following extensive investigations and enforcement action by SEPA between 2015 and 2017, the Construction Joint Venture (CJV) building the multi-million pound Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) have offered the funding in an Offer of Enforcement Undertaking, after causing a series of silt pollution incidents which affected the Aberdeenshire rivers.

The Enforcement Undertaking admits full liability by the AWPR B-T Construction Joint Venture (CJV) for the pollution and will result in the funding being divided between eight community initiatives as a penalty for the disruption and environmental impact.

The offer, which required the Construction Joint Venture to engage with local stakeholders, has been formally accepted by SEPA, thus securing one of the biggest financial outcomes for an environmental offence in Scotland.  It is only the fourth of its kind to be accepted by SEPA.

Granted as a new enforcement power in June 2016, an Enforcement Undertaking represents a formal offer by an organisation or individual to make amends for an offence by improving the environment or communities affected, using their own resources.

The new enforcement power can be used to bring about effective and immediate solutions to environmental offences and requires the offender to work with SEPA to ensure ongoing compliance in future, as well as making appropriate restitution.

SEPA chief executive, Terry A’Hearn, said: “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and we will respond robustly to organisations who fail to comply with environmental controls. Every operator must comply.

“It’s right that the Construction Joint Venture should offer this significant enforcement undertaking in recognition of the environmental impact of their actions, which resulted in a series of silt pollution incidents impacting numerous tributaries to Aberdeenshire rivers, the Dee and the Don.

“We are delighted that CJV has become one of the first operators to use the new enforcement undertaking.  The CJV has stepped forward, accepted responsibility and set out to put things right.

“An enforcement undertaking not only compels those who breach the law to make amends, it instils a more positive working relationship based on understanding the duty we all share in safeguarding our natural environment.”

 

Aberdeen Roads Limited is constructing the new 36-mile road which will provide a fast link between towns between the North, South and West of Aberdeen.

The project is being delivered by Transport Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council.

The silt pollution was caused by heavy rainfall which led to muddy water running off the construction site into waterways.

An enforcement notice was issued to contractors last year after concerns were raised at the time about the impact it could have on salmon and freshwater pearl mussels.

Transport Scotland said: “We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and have been working closely with SEPA and the contractor, Aberdeen Roads Ltd (ARL), to ensure the watercourses on site are protected from construction activities.

“We welcome any measures that have been agreed between SEPA and ARL where they result in a positive impact on the environment.”

The biggest beneficiary of the undertaking is the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board, which will receive £112,500 for improvement projects relating to diffuse pollution, and £37,500 to fund an agricultural officer for two years to assist farm owners in reducing diffuse pollution in the River Don.

Richard Gledson, chairman, Dee District Salmon Fisheries Board, added: “Silt pollution from the construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route gave us great cause for concern, particularly as the River Dee is designated as a special habitat for both salmonid fish and fresh water pearl mussels, which rely on a delicate eco-system to feed and spawn.

“We welcome both the immediate response by SEPA, including the temporary restriction of construction activity, their investigation, and today’s enforcement undertaking. This will provide for environmental improvements that will go some way to offsetting the impact on local communities and the environment.”

In addition to the funding for community and environmental benefits, SEPA will also recover £47,958 as part of the offer. This lump sum will be made by the CJV as a contribution towards the time spent investigating the various pollution incidents which resulted from their construction works.

Queensferry Crossing ‘snagging’ issues to continue for 10 months

The final touches being put to the Queensferry Crossing

Contractors have identified snagging works which require the lifting of the surfacing around the bridge expansion joints

Lane restrictions on the Queensferry Crossing, such as the closure of the southbound carriageway from tonight, will continue over the next 10 months due to “snagging” issues, MSPs were told.

Transport Scotland announced on Monday the new £1.35 billion bridge would close to southbound traffic from 22:00 hours for five days of surfacing works to be carried out.

The works will allow the bridge to achieve its next key milestone – opening at a 70 mph speed limit – as planned by the end of December subject to weather conditions, it said at the time.

But the body’s director responsible for the structure, Michelle Rennie, has said further restrictions will be enforced at times up until September.

She also said the problem had been known about before the bridge opened in August but a solution was only devised two weeks ago.

Speaking to the Scottish Parliament’s rural economy and connectivity committee, she said: “We have been consistently saying that there will be finishing and snagging works required. The contract allows for those works to happen up until next September, at no additional cost.

“There will be some lane restrictions happening between now and then.”

Ms Rennie said the fault was only announced on Monday once a clear weather window had been established for the repairs to go ahead. Southbound traffic will be switched to the Forth Road Bridge from 10pm tomorrow until 6am next Wednesday. Northbound traffic will continue to use the Queensferry Crossing, with the speed limit reduced to 40mph.

The warning came as MSPs were told the fault was caused by a workmanship error.

Ms Rennie told the committee: “The snagging issue is not due to the joints, but the level of surfacing around the joints. It was laid marginally too high.

“That’s a workmanship issue. It’s the road surfacing at fault. The surfaces were not laid to the tolerances set out in the design.

“There is concern about the impact of use of the road at 70mph on the joints.”

Ms Rennie said officials had not wanted to alert the public to the problem until firm dates could be fixed for the repairs.

The cost of the repairs will be paid for by the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium which built the bridge.

Ms Rennie also admitted some of the bridge’s windshielding required further work, but “nothing in comparison with what’s been reported” and that it was expected to be done at the same time as the surfacing work.

Construction projects win big at GO Awards

Morrison Construction and East Ayrshire College with their award

Morrison Construction and East Ayrshire College with their award

Two construction projects have been honoured at the GO Awards Scotland for excellence in public procurement.

Morrison Construction Scotland and East Ayrshire Council were awarded the Best Service Award (Contractors working with the Scottish public sector) for bringing Whatriggs Primary School and Early Childhood Centre together with Kirkstyle and Bellfield primaries under the one roof – improving the learning opportunities of the pupils.

The scope of the project included a community library and early childhood centre for 110 children under five who would then attend the primary school and enhanced sporting facilities.

Transport Scotland’s A82 Pulpit Rock Improvement was crowned as the best Infrastructure Project of the Year for the reintroduction of two-way traffic, where signals had significantly restricted the flow of vehicles along the narrow 400m section of road.

The work, which was completed in a sensitive National Park location, provided a slender curving structure between the loch’s shores and a steep cliff-line, while being environmentally friendly to the surrounding area.

Transport Scotland celebrates its recognition

Transport Scotland celebrates its recognition

The GO Awards Scotland, organised by BiP Solutions, are the only awards dedicated to public procurement in the country. Winners were announced in front of 400 guests at a ceremony held in Glasgow’s Marriot Hotel during the recent two-day Procurex Scotland exhibition.

A total of 10 organisations received a trophy, with a triple success for the education sector which celebrated after collecting three prizes.

Other notable winners include Aberlour Child Care Trust for a creative approach to providing care homes for young people in the region and Falkirk Council which was crowned for its work on eliminating SOC from the procurement process.

Also making it to the podium on the night was City of Glasgow College, the University of Glasgow, Skills Development Scotland, Morrison Construction in partnership with East Ayrshire Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, NHS National Services Scotland with NHS Lanarkshire and Scotland Excel.

Simon Burges, group chief executive of GO Awards Scotland organiser BiP Solutions, said: “The quality of applications to this year’s GO Awards were exceptional, demonstrating the hard-work of procurement and supply chain professionals across Scotland. The judging panel thoroughly enjoyed the decision-making process, testament to the high-standard of work they were considering as well as the overall level and range of services which were delivered as a result of best practice procurement.

“A huge well done to Morrison Construction Scotland, East Ayrshire Council and Transport Scotland for two outstanding construction procurement projects which impressed the judges with their innovative work.”

The GO Awards Scotland event was set up in 2008 following the success of the UK-wide National GO Awards, established in 2002.

Four local authorities to share multi-million pound travel infrastructure funding

Meadows to George Street – Streets for PeopleFive ambitious active travel proposals from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Inverness have been successful in the final judging of the Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links PLUS (CLPLUS) competition.

Run by Sustrans and funded by the Scottish Government, the competition delivers pioneering and game-changing projects which inspire public bodies in Scotland to design better places and spaces for people to live, walk and cycle in for everyday journeys.

After an intensive three-stage process all five shortlisted projects will be awarded a grant of up to 50% of the total project costs, with the grants totalling £22,540,360, from Transport Scotland funds, delivered through Sustrans Scotland.

Each project is expected to begin development within the next two months, with Inverness City Active Travel Network (Highland Council) forecast to be complete by Summer 2020; Walk, Cycle, Live (Stirling Council) and Woodside Mini-Holland (Glasgow City Council) by Summer 2021. Both Meadows to George Street and the West Edinburgh Active Travel Network (Edinburgh City Council) are forecast to be complete by Summer 2022.

The five projects set to be funded are:

Glasgow City Council:  Woodside Mini-Holland

Woodside Mini-Holland

Woodside Mini-Holland

This year’s entry from Glasgow City Council, Woodside Mini-Holland, takes inspiration from transport infrastructure in the Netherlands and proposes to deliver an exemplar cycle friendly neighbourhood in the Woodside community.

Part of the project will include a segregated cycle route along St George’s Road from Charing Cross to Possil Road and will connect to the Sauchiehall Street “Avenue” cycleway that is currently being delivered through the Sauchiehall and Garnethill Regeneration Framework.

The proposal also includes the expansion of the cycle network into the city centre, Great Western Road, Maryhill, Garscube Road and the Forth and Clyde Canal in a bid to encourage cycling as the favoured commuter option.

In addition to the health and wellbeing benefits that the extensive cycle network brings to the surrounding area, the creation of Woodside Mini-Holland will strengthen local economies and increase road safety.

Pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities at St George’s Cross Subway station will also undergo major redesign in order to improve accessibility to the station and surrounding streets.

The City of Edinburgh Council: The West Edinburgh Active Travel Network

The West Edinburgh Active Travel Network

The West Edinburgh Active Travel Network

The West Edinburgh Active Travel Network’ proposes to transform the west of Edinburgh into a high quality Dutch-inspired cycle and pedestrian friendly neighbourhood.

Included in plans is the creation of an attractive, direct and convenient cycling and walking route from the Roseburn area to the major business district of Edinburgh Park. The route will connect popular locations within a cycleable distance of 1-5km.

Destinations along the route include the Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot Watt campuses, the Gyle shopping centre and business park, new housing developments at East Craigs and Cammo, and existing communities Stenhouse, Broomhouse, Saughton, Sighthill and Wester Hailes.

This major overhaul will see one of the most car-dominated parts of Edinburgh transformed into an active travel hotspot.

The City of Edinburgh Council:  Meadows to George Street – Streets for People

Meadows to George Street – Streets for People

Meadows to George Street – Streets for People

The ‘Meadows to George Street – Streets for People’ project proposes to create a direct cycle  link between The Meadows and George Street, as well as the Old and New towns of the city centre along Hanover Street, The Mound, Bank Street, North Bank Street, George IV Bridge and Forrest Road.

The ‘Meadows to George Street’ project will provide a major redesign for walking and cycling in the city, creating safe, coherent and attractive routes through the city centre.

The Highland Council: Inverness City Active Travel Network

Inverness City Active Travel Network

Inverness City Active Travel Network

The ambitious proposal plans to strengthen the Inverness City Active Travel Network that connects all of the city’s communities with the centre, as well as developing seamless and segregated cycle-friendly routes along Millburn Road, Academy Street and the Raigmore Interchange.

The plans propose a major overhaul of Millburn Road with the removal of one lane of general traffic in place of a fully segregated cycle path. A westbound bus lane and footpath will also be introduced, transforming the area into a less congested and pedestrian friendly area. A signalised junction will also become a feature of Millburn Road with separate signals for pedestrians and cyclists.

Academy Street will also undergo a similar transformation with the implementation of a one-way cycle track with buffer zones off the main carriageway behind the parking and loading areas.

The city wide active travel network also plans to create a ramp from the Raigmore Interchange to the Golden Bridge that would see construction of a cycle and pedestrian friendly route to the Inverness Campus.

Stirling Council: Walk, Cycle, Live

Walk, Cycle, Live

Walk, Cycle, Live

The City Boulevard and Cowane Street project compromises of two key active travel routes that will allow Stirling to operate as a sustainable and vibrant city which is attractive to businesses, residents and visitors.

The focal point of the first route, City Boulevard, is to improve the environment and streetscape along the A811 from Dumbarton Road, along Albert Place and Upper Craigs.  Included in this will be the introduction of more generously sized pedestrian routes, creating a boulevard feel and connecting the city centre to the City Park.

Route two proposes to improve the environment and streetscape along Goosecroft Road, Cowane Street and onward to Stirling University. Currently the B8052 forms one of the key routes into Stirling City Centre and priorities vehicles. The project aims to make the road accessible to all users and redesign road crossings in order to improve accessibility. The integrated network would act as a direct link between Stirling City Centre and Stirling Bridge and continue onwards to the communities of Raploch, Cornton, Causewayhead and Bridge of Allan.

Minister for transport Humza Yousaf said: “I am delighted to announce this morning that all five Community Links PLUS shortlisted projects have been successful in securing funding from the Scottish Government.

“The expert panel who evaluated the bids were impressed by the local authorities’ high level of design and innovation. Each bid is entirely worthy of receiving support today and I want to thank the panel, Sustrans and each local authority who took the time to get involved in the award.

“Our ambitious Active Nation initiative is designed to encourage many more of us to make everyday and leisure journeys sustainably – on foot and by bike. To achieve this vision, we are doubling our investment in active travel, from £40 to £80m each year, demonstrating our commitment to make our towns and cities more walking and cycling friendly.

“Through the Community Links PLUS award, people will be able to enjoy new active travel routes and whether it is for commuting or leisure, more people across Scotland will be able to enjoy the benefits of greener and healthier modes of transport.”

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Climate Week is an opportunity to get more people talking about and taking action on climate change, and I am pleased to be supporting the Community Links Plus active travel project, enabling more people to walk and cycle more often.

“We all have a role to play in taking action on climate change, and this is a fantastic example of how people can reduce their own carbon footprint through using greener modes of travel.”

Sustrans Scotland deputy director for built environment, Daisy Narayanan, said: “Funding all five final projects is a bold step towards a healthier, more sustainable and vibrant Scotland which designs places around the needs of people over vehicular access.

“The Community Links PLUS proposals were so impressive this year that the panel felt strongly that all the five final proposals should become a reality. We thank the Minster for Transport and the Islands for taking the unprecedented step of committing to fund each of the five finalists.

“With the backing of Transport Scotland, Sustrans will now work in partnership with all four local authorities to turn their pioneering visions into reality. These five exemplar projects will demonstrate the wide ranging benefits that well designed places bring, such as boosting footfall for local business, improving the health of local people and creating safer environments that are more pleasant to live in and move through.” 

And finally… Walk on the wild side

AWPR-B-T Design Guide V6Special wildlife bridges, the first of their kind on a Scottish trunk road, are being constructed by Aberdeen Roads Limited on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie-Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project to ensure animals can safely access areas on either side of the road once it opens to traffic.

Two dedicated wildlife bridges are being constructed over the new road at Kingcausie and Kirkhill, where there are large surrounding areas of woodland habitat. Mammal-proof fencing will guide animals towards the bridges providing them with safe crossing points which will join up habitats and connect colonies. Small trees and shrubs will also be planted on and around the bridges to provide cover for wildlife.

The decking areas of these two bridges will be covered with topsoil in varying depths, with planting to replicate the natural habitats of deer, badgers and red squirrels and encourage wildlife to use the routes.

In addition, a further bridge across the AWPR at Kirkhill, which will be used by vehicles to access local forests and remote properties, will have one half of its carriageway landscaped for wildlife and equestrian use.

Wildlife bridgeA Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “This is a good example of the AWPR/B-T contractor implementing just some of the measures which are outlined in the Environmental Statement of 2007, which will help to maintain biodiversity in the north east following construction.

“These wildlife bridges, along with 17 mammal underpasses, have specially designed planting and strategic seeding to encourage biodiversity. These are just some of the measures that are considered necessary to ensure wildlife continues to thrive in the area once the road has been built.

“These ‘green’ bridges were successfully pioneered in the Netherlands in 1988, where they are known as ecoducts.  There are also now a small number of these structures on some major routes in England.”

AWPR worker taken to hospital after being hit by falling timber

Work in progress at the River Dee Crossing

Work in progress at the River Dee Crossing

A worker on the Aberdeen bypass was taken to hospital with head injuries after a falling piece of timber cracked his hard hat apart and knocked him unconscious.

The Press and Journal reports that the accident took place just south of the River Dee crossing yesterday afternoon.

It is understood the man had raised concerns about the “unsteady” nature of the plank immediately before it came crashing down on his head.

Witnesses said the force of the blow smashed apart his protective helmet, leaving him unconscious and with a “deep” laceration.

The man regained consciousness at the scene, but was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by ambulance to be checked over.

Transport Scotland said contractors were investigating the circumstances and would use the findings to enhance site safety.

A spokeswoman said: “The project contractor, Aberdeen Roads Limited, has confirmed that an incident took place on its site earlier today resulting in one of its operatives being taken to hospital.

“The contractor is now undertaking an investigation in to the cause of the incident and will implement any lessons learned throughout the site.

“Transport Scotland will continue to work with Aberdeen Roads Limited to enhance the health and safety of the local community and the workforce.”

The incident is the latest in a number of accidents on the AWPR project. A worker at the Milltimber stretch of the site was left with cracked ribs, a liver tear and dislocated toes after being crushed by a half-tonne pipe back in March.