Project delays cause £745m Aberdeen bypass to be pushed back six months

The £745m Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), which was scheduled for completion in spring this year, will now not be open till the autumn, according to the Scottish economy secretary.

It comes after the collapse of key partner Carillion, when it emerged last week the other main contractor Balfour Beatty admitted the spring completion date had been pushed back to the summer.

Following Balfour’s announcement, Transport Scotland hastily entered discussions to find out if the main contractor Aberdeen Roads Ltd and its delivery partner Morrison Construction shared the timescale view. 

Following these discussions, Brown confirmed the 28-mile Aberdeen bypass which was originally given the green light by Scottish ministers in 2009, would now be opened in Autumn 2018.

Commenting on the announcement, Brown said: “While this revision to the opening date is very disappointing to the people of the north east, we have to accept the expert advice of our contractors on the ground who are delivering this significant project. Clearly there has been a huge amount of work that has gone in to getting the project to where we are now. I would like to pay tribute to the effort of the people who are working hard to get this project over the finishing line.”

After suffering initial delays due to legal action, preparatory work on the Aberdeen bypass began in August 2014, and construction work began in February 2015. Carillion’s collapse at the start of the year only added to the problems and has left partners Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try to cover the costs.

Balfour Beatty’s 2017 results confirmed Carillion’s demise had resulted in a £44m loss on the job. While Galliford Try revealed it had taken a further £25m hit.

After revealing the revised completion date, Brown has faced calls to apologise to the people of Scotland’s north-east over the setback on the much-needed bypass. The confirmed delay has incited fear criticism from various quarters with north-east MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat Mike Rumbles describing it a “complete shambles”.

“The cabinet secretary has clearly lost total control of this process. In January he appeared before a Scottish Parliament committee to claim the AWPR was still set to open this spring,” he said. “We now have confusion instead of clarity, with a variety of possible opening dates stretching towards the end of the year. To apportion some of the blame to a storm in 2015 also takes some nerve. People in the north-east now have zero faith in any opening time set out by the cabinet secretary. Whatever happens, residents evidently face many months more of delays.”

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