AWPR ‘on schedule’ despite River Don bridge repairs

Remedial works needed to correct defects on the new River Don bridge will not cause further delays to the completion of the Aberdeen bypass, according to Transport Scotland.

The transport body confirmed that repairs were required after “minor defects” were identified in the new crossing in Dyce.

In a report by trade publication Construction News, contractors Balfour Beatty revealed the work will cost millions.

North East MSP Lewis Macdonald has written to transport minister Michael Matheson to outline his concerns and call for clarity on any potential delays.

His letter stated: “Given that Balfour Beatty, as one of the two main partners for the AWPR has confirmed that it is now addressing the issues in relation to the bridge’s design, I would be grateful if you could outline what the Scottish Government’s assessment is of the situation.

“In particular, what assessment have you made of the impact that this remedial work on a key component of the AWPR infrastructure will have on the timetable for the completion on the project as a whole? What do you believe the impact is on the overall cost of the AWPR? Are there any implications for safety?”

Mr Macdonald added: “This latest development will only reinforce concerns that the AWPR could be subject to further delay and it’s vital that the Scottish Government provide clarity on this matter.

“The Scottish Government also need to be clear on the extent to which this will impact on the overall cost of the project and any implications for safety.

“The bridges over the River Dee and River Don are clearly critical parts of the infrastructure of the AWPR and it is vital that the Scottish Government publishes its own assessment of the issues affecting the Don Crossing and their impact on the project as a whole.”

However Transport Scotland has insisted the repairs will not disrupt the Aberdeen bypass from opening late autumn 2018, adding that contractor Balfour Beatty would pay for the additional costs.

A spokesman said: “The AWPR contract sets out a clear standard for the works on AWPR and the contractor is required to complete any necessary work to deliver this at no additional costs to the public purse.

“Some concrete panels are being replaced after minor defects were identified as part of the rigorous quality control processes which are utilised across the project.

“It is not unusual for minor defects to appear during the construction of major infrastructure projects.

“The contractor will undertake the necessary remedial works, at no extra cost to the taxpayer.

“There will be no safety implications for users of the AWPR, and the AWPR/B-T project remains on schedule to open to traffic by late autumn 2018.

“The previous Cabinet Secretary reported the latest position with the AWPR/B-T project to parliament in March 2018 and Balfour Beatty’s interim results remain consistent with this.”

Two main sections of the £745 million project – from Balmedie to Tipperty and Blackdog to Dyce – have already opened to traffic.

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