Blog: AWPR - New Year message from Keith Brown
Cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown, says the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) is due to be completed by the spring and is already delivering benefits to local communities.
Less than a decade ago, no-one in the north-east could envisage the Aberdeen bypass ever being built.
One of the most ambitious road infrastructure projects in Scotland, indeed the UK, was stopped at a red light - held up in court while other major projects in Scotland were pressing ahead.
Fast forward to early 2015 - the legal battle had been fought and won, and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon turned the first turf to kick start a three quarters of a billion pounds major road infrastructure scheme.
Not only has the new road delivered thousands of jobs during its construction – it will support 14,000 more for the north-east over the next 30 years – it will also provide £6 billion to the local economy over the same period.
The project will see 30km of access roads, 40km of side roads, 58km of new dual carriageway, nearly 1,200 bridge beams supporting 75 new bridges, 70 new culverts, two major river crossings, two wildlife crossings, and a railway bridge being built. The feat of engineering to deliver this mammoth scheme is truly staggering and everyone who is playing their part can already take immense pride in being involved.
Of course, the new bypass is already delivering benefits – we pledged from the outset to open sections of the scheme as they became available and bring early benefits to local communities, and we’ve done just that. The new merge onto the A90 at Stonehaven, for instance, has significantly reduced traffic flow through the town, reducing congestion . We’ve recently seen the link road open at Foveran, Contlaw Road bridge become operational and numerous side roads opened, with more sections due to open in the weeks ahead.
Naturally, the work has impacted on traffic in some areas, particularly as we move through to the final stages, where we will connect up the new infrastructure to the existing road network. I would like to thank road users for being patient whilst we deliver this massive investment.
The bypass will see journey times slashed – we can estimate a typical trip from Stonehaven in the south to Aberdeen Airport during peak times to be cut in half to around 28 minutes. Congestion in and around the city will be significantly eased with the effective removal of long haul traffic currently using Anderson Drive. Roads will also be safer because the volume of traffic will lessen in the Aberdeen City Council area, air pollution in the city will also be reduced and public transport can be improved.
Following the opening of the bypass, we can look forward to Haudagain roundabout, Aberdeen’s most notorious bottleneck, finally being consigned to history. Preparation work on this project has been progressing well and construction work is expected to start on completion of the new bypass.
It’s been some time coming, and I know it has caused unavoidable disruption, but I’m proud to have seen the bypass evolve from the drawing board to full construction. I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year – local communities should ready themselves as the complexion of the region is about to change for the better, with 2018 set to be a defining year for transport in the north east.