Don bridge hitches delay Aberdeen bypass opening

Aaron Morby 6 years ago
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Scotland’s transport secretary has revealed that the opening of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route has been pushed back to at least December.

The already delayed scheme was expected to finally open this autumn but further problems with the River Don crossing involving concrete cladding panels have pushed it back.

The £745m road scheme has already been beset with  delays due to weather, technical problems and the collapse of contractor Carillion.

This saw the opening in the spring put back to autumn.

Transport secretary Michael Matheson told MSPs that engineers were now targeting a December opening, but that no firm date could be given.

He said that problems revealed in May at Balfour Beatty’s new Don crossing section of the scheme were more “extensive” than initially believed.

Matheson has now urged the AWPR contractor to ‘stop deliberating and start acting’ and requested an urgent meeting with the contractors’ board members to seek clarity on the timescales for opening the remaining sections of the AWPR.

He also revealed frustration that talks with Galliford Try to open the Craibstone to Stonehaven and Charleston section, which required a variation to the contract, have not progressed as hoped.

“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. I repeated this to him on Monday and reiterated it again today 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.

“I have therefore asked for unequivocal confirmation that the agreement is being progressed and when it will be concluded.”

 

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