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The opening of the AWPR has been delayed again, minister announces

Pictured is theNorthern Route between Dyce / Aberdeen Airport and Blackdog. Pictured is the new bridge at Dyce over the River Don which is still under construction.
Picture by DARRELL BENNS - CABRO AVIATION and HJS HELICOPTERS
Pictured is theNorthern Route between Dyce / Aberdeen Airport and Blackdog. Pictured is the new bridge at Dyce over the River Don which is still under construction. Picture by DARRELL BENNS - CABRO AVIATION and HJS HELICOPTERS

The opening of the £745m Aberdeen bypass has been delayed, Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson has announced.

The 28-mile AWPR was approved by ministers in 2009 but faced legal action. It was due to open in the spring but was put back to autumn.

There have been delays with the construction of the bridge over the River Don and Mr Matheson announced this afternoon that there is now no definitive date for the opening.

He said a date would be given as soon as was safely possible.

Mr Matheson said contractors were often “ambitious with their targets” and it would be delivered at the “earliest opportunity”.

He said: “I am fully aware of the eagerness of the people of the north east of Scotland waiting for their new road.”

A statement sent to the local authorities involved in the project confirms that the contractor is currently unable to provide an opening date, due to problems with the bridge over the River Don.

In his statement to the Scottish Parliament, Mr Matheson called on the AWPR contractor to “stop deliberating and start acting” so the people of the north-east can benefit from the new road.

He explained why it is not currently possible to provide an opening date for the Craibstone to Stonehaven and Charleston section.

Mr Matheson said: “Earlier this week, I spoke with Peter Truscott, chief executive of Galliford Try to receive an update on the progress they were making in discussing this variation with their lenders.

“Despite assurances that they were doing everything possible to open the road at the earliest opportunity, as well as a clear indication from Mr Truscott that they were making the necessary changes to the AWPR contract to open the 31.5km section, I was then disappointed to receive a letter from him which contradicted our discussion.

“It is this kind of inconsistency which is frustrating efforts to progress the opening of this new section. As recently as 12th 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.”

Conservative north-east MSP Liam Kerr said the delay was a “disgrace” and asked if the SNP was “losing its grip on the process”.

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said it is “just not good enough” that an opening date cannot be given.

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