Scotland’s transport secretary has held crunch talks with AWPR bosses over the ongoing delays to the opening of the
£745 million development.
Last week Michael Matheson told parliament that Aberdeen Roads Limited (ARL) had pushed back the “late autumn” completion date of the Aberdeen Bypass and now hoped to have it open in December.
The minister had been under growing pressure to explain why the road had yet to be fully opened, despite continuing to promise it would be open by this month. The long-awaited launch has been stalled because of repairs which are needed on the River Don bridge.
Mr Matheson has now met with ARL after calling the contractor’s failure to open the 19-mile Craibstone to Stonehaven section “simply unacceptable”.
It comes after north-east politicians called on the ARL contractors Galliford Try and Balfour Beatty to be brought before MSPs to address the delays that have plagued the project.
Last night Mr Matheson said: “I am well aware this has been a difficult project for the contractors and agreeing this variation would immediately allow the Scottish Government to release appropriate payment to ARL for the work they have completed satisfactorily.
“The meeting was positive and both parties have agreed to work constructively together to progress the contract variation necessary to open the next section of this project between Craibstone and Stonehaven and Charleston.
“I have scheduled a further discussion with the contractors early next week to ensure that we continue to make the necessary progress. For my part, I have committed to explore every opportunity to make this happen.
“I have been encouraged by Galliford Try’s trading statement this week. This confirms the Don Crossing is expected to be completed in December.
“I and my officials at Transport Scotland will therefore continue to offer ARL all the support required to conclude remedial work at the Don and open the full project as quickly as possible.
“We continue to thank the people and businesses of the north-east for their patience, especially in the past few weeks. Be in no doubt, I share the frustration they feel.”