A contractor has been appointed to oversee an £18million project to end the gridlock at a notorious north-east roundabout.
Farrans Construction will take the helm on the Haudagain improvement works, which are expected to be completed in 2021.
The Aberdeen roundabout was once dubbed the worst of its kind in Europe, and the project will involve the construction of a “bypass” linking North Anderson Drive and Auchmill Road to alleviate some of its regular bottlenecks.
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While improvements are already being experienced following the opening of large sections of the Aberdeen bypass, the Haudagain project has long been seen as the final piece in the puzzle to solve the city’s traffic woes for good.
The value of the contract from Transport Scotland is more than £17.6million and includes the main 1,600ft road and three years of upkeep and maintenance.
Balfour Beatty – one half of the consortium building the AWPR – had also been bidding for the work, but pulled out of the running earlier this year for unknown reasons.
Work will begin once the last section of the bypass, the bridge over the Don, is completed in the new year.
Last night, Aberdeen Donside MSP Mark McDonald said: “It’s great to see that the Haudagain contract has been awarded and hopefully we can now look forward to the work getting underway in the very near future.
“While the AWPR has made a noticeable difference to the traffic volume at the Haudagain already, it does still present a bottleneck which needs to be addressed.
“I hope that the works will progress without any issues arising, and that people across the north-east will soon be reaping yet more benefits from improvement to the transport infrastructure of the region.”
North East Scottish Conservative MSP Tom Mason welcomed the move, but raised fears following the series of missed deadlines by AWPR contractors ,which has also pushed back the start date for the Haudagain work.
He said: “The AWPR was delayed several times and motorists are now enjoying its long-overdue benefits.
“Sadly, the Haudagain also seems to have fallen foul of the SNP’s inability to deliver major projects on time.
“I hope they have learned their lesson and the appointment is a step in the right direction.”
Ross Grant, the city council’s transport spokesman, said: “After repeated delays to the commencement of works at the Haudagain, it is to be welcome news that a contractor has been appointed.
“But with the scheme already behind schedule before a digger has even started work, it is imperative that the Scottish Government stops dithering and commences work as soon as possible.”
Earlier this year dozens of homes were torn down to make way for the new road.
Diggers and cranes were used to demolish 129 properties in the so-called Middlefield Triangle – the space which will be left between the new road and the Haudagain – and many of the families who were living there have been re-housed.
SNP councillor Jackie Dunbar said: “I’m pleased to hear a contractor has been appointed so the work can progress.
“However, this means the council will need to make sure the final few families living in the triangle are relocated as a matter of urgency.”