Fresh delays have hit a dozen major projects – including the new Inverness prison and work to finally end gridlock at the Haudagain roundabout in Aberdeen.
The setbacks for the high-profile schemes were confirmed yesterday by the Scottish Government – just days after the completion of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) was pushed back until next month at the earliest.
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In an update on its major capital projects, the government said the estimated date for finishing work on a new link road to ease congestion at the notorious Haudagain roundabout had been moved from 2020 to 2021.
“This is due to one of the two bidders withdrawing from the competition and therefore the competition has been closed and procurement is progressing under a new procedure,” it said.
The problem was due to add eight weeks to the procurement process.
Meanwhile, the expected opening of the new Inverness prison, to be called HMP Highland, has been pushed back from the spring of 2021 to October of that year, and the cost has also increased from £73.9 million to £80.5 million.
According to the update, completion of work to dual the A9 from Luncarty to the Pass of Birnam has also been delayed from 2020 to 2021.
Taken together, the Scottish Conservatives said the delays to 12 major schemes across Scotland added up to more than 10 years.
Shadow Finance Secretary Murdo Fraser said: “It’s understandable that there will always be the odd delay to major projects, which can occur for a range of issues. But under the SNP this appears to have become the norm.”
Aberdeen City Council’s transport spokesman Ross Grant said “It is becoming more and more obvious that the SNP transport minister is out of his depth when it comes to transport requirements for the city of Aberdeen.”
A spokesman for Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “It’s good of the Tories to highlight just some examples of the extraordinary number of capital projects the SNP government is investing in across Scotland.
“They didn’t mention the projects which were completed well ahead of schedule under this government, such as the M74 extension, nor did they acknowledge their own failure to deliver on many of these projects during their decades in power – most notably with the AWPR, which was first mooted in the 1940s but is only now becoming a reality under the SNP.”