SCOTLAND’S Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has announced that a “significant section” of the Aberdeen bypass project will open next week following talks with contractor Aberdeen Roads Limited (ARL).
The news comes after ARL informed the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee that its lenders have agreed to open the new section of road between the A90 at both Stonehaven and Craibstone and the A956 between Cleanhill and Charleston.
Mr Matheson said, “This is the news we have all been waiting for. I have explored every possible avenue with Aberdeen Roads Limited to open this section of road as soon as possible and I am delighted my efforts to bring this matter to a positive conclusion have been successful. I made it clear to them my strong desire to get the road open would not be at any cost and Scottish Ministers are simply not willing to pay over the odds for the road on account of mistakes or miscalculations that are of the contractors’ own making. I am pleased they have now recognised this.”
Mr Matheson stated that it was “disappointing” that his personal intervention was required to move the matter forward and that the people of the north east will have a “sense of relief and even excitement” that a large part of the project is opening. He added, “But they will also share my deep sense of frustration at ARL’s misguided and ultimately pointless tactics. We should also keep in mind that technical issues with the Don Crossing are the sole reason the road is not open today. ARL has said it aims to finish the bridge before Christmas but has also correctly warned the remaining works are complex, very weather sensitive and subject to safety and quality tests. We should therefore treat this optimistic programme with caution.”
Mr Matheson added, “Opening this section will mean the large majority of the project will be open and benefits associated with the project being enjoyed in time for Christmas. A welcome present for sure, although one we could rightly have expected much earlier. When fully open, after the remaining section of the project between Craibstone and Parkhill is complete, it will bring in an additional £6 billion to the north east economy and create around 14,000 jobs over the next 30 years.”
This new section is in addition to the Balmedie and Tipperty section, which opened in August, the Parkhill and Blackdog, which opened in June, and the Craibstone Roundabout and Dyce Drive section, which opened in September 2016.