Minister confirms significant delay to stretch of Aberdeen bypass

AWPR Balmedie-Tipperty 2A crucial section of the £745 million Aberdeen bypass could be delayed by as much as a year because contractors have failed to complete key earthworks prior to the winter period.

Aberdeen Roads Limited, a consortium of Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Galliford Try, is working on the £550m stretch of route between Balmedie-Tipperty on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) project.

That 12km section of the bypass was due to open to traffic next spring, but economy minister Keith Brown has admitted that failure to complete earthwork before a poor weather shutdown has pushed the expected completion date back to winter 2017/18.

In a letter to the Scottish Parliament’s rural economy and connectivity committee, Mr Brown reaffirmed that the remainder of the Aberdeen bypass is still due to open in Spring 2018.

The minister said: “The Scottish Government has pursued the AWPR project with vigour throughout its development. It was a considerable success to be able to begin the construction phase in 2015 and substantial time and resource has been invested by the Scottish government with significant progress made to date.

“When complete, this project will provide substantial benefits across the whole of the north east, and will boost the economy, increase business and tourism opportunities, improve safety and cut congestion.”

The AWPR was held up for several years due to a legal challenge from a local campaigner which only concluded in the Supreme Court in 2012.

Aberdeen Roads Limited began work on the ground in February 2015, and set a target of completing work on the Balmedie to Tipperty road to the north of the city by Spring 2017.

This section, which will see the existing A90 road upgraded to a dual carriageway, will be linked to the northern leg of the AWPR at Blackdog.

Peter Chapman, North East Region MSP, and a member of the Rural Economy and Connectivity committee, added: “The AWPR is a flagship infrastructure project for this SNP government, and I will be asking the minister why this section has fallen so far behind schedule.

“We are fully aware of the benefits that this development will bring to the north east, but the SNP made great play of the fact that this part of the route would open early.

“Now the management of the construction must be called into question.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The contractor, Aberdeen Roads Limited, has not completed seasonally dependant earthworks on the Balmedie-Tipperty section in advance of this winter. They will recommence these key earthworks after the winter period.”

The setback comes after phase 1 of the Northern Leg of the project at Aberdeen Airport opened in August this year, ahead of the contractor’s planned autumn target.

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