Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity wants more action from the contractor of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), after it was revealed no opening date has yet been confirmed.
Michael Matheson called for less deliberation and more action in a statement to the Scottish Parliament on 1 November.
One of Scotland’s largest infrastructure projects, the £745 million ABWPR is a huge part of Transport Scotland’s commitment to improving travel in the north east of the country.
The new road will be 58km long, consisting of four sections, and will also include 40km of side roads, 30km of access tracks, 12 junctions, and two major river crossings.
The project was expected to open this autumn, but Parliament has been informed by the Cabinet Secretary that greater work is needed to repair defects at one of the major river crossings – the River Don Crossing.
Work is now ongoing to determine a new date when the Don will be ready to open.
The project has been beset with problems; Carillion was the principal contractor, so the company’s liquidation posed significant problems.
In addition, the opening of the 31.5km section from Craibstone to Stonehaven and Charleston will be pushed back, as a change is required to the original contract which the contractor has yet to agree to.
And the Cabinet Secretary said in his statement, after receiving contradictory information about the opening of this road, that the time for deliberation is over.
He said: “As recently as 12 September, Galliford Try issued a statement to markets to say the AWPR was on target to open in late autumn 2018 and we had no reason to doubt that assessment.
“I have been urging the contractor to conclude its deliberations for some time. I repeated this to him on Monday (29 October) and reiterated it again today (1 November) in writing.
“It is now time for the contractor to stop deliberating and start acting.
“It now has to take the necessary steps to open the majority of this road and let the people of the North East enjoy the benefits they have been so patiently anticipating.”