The final section of the long-awaited Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) could be opened next week, Transport Scotland revealed last night.
Aberdeen Roads Limited (ARL) has now provided “all necessary technical assurances” regarding the long-awaited final piece of the bypass, the Don Crossing.
That should mean motorists will finally be able to drive the road in its entirety – though an exact date has yet to be confirmed.
More than 85% of the more than £745 million infrastructure project is already open, with the Stonehaven to Aberdeen Airport portions welcoming the public at the end of last year.
However, final safety and structural work on the last 4.5 miles of the AWPR meant that projections it would be open before the end of 2018 were wrong, as were estimations it would be ready for the public by the close of January.
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Last night, a spokesman for Transport Scotland said that following discussions with contractors ARL, drivers will be able to travel the entire length of the bypass next week.
The news came after a meeting between the Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for transport Michael Matheson and representatives from ARL earlier this month.
A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: “Productive discussions have continued between ARL and Transport Scotland since the meeting with the cabinet secretary on February 6.
“All necessary technical assurances have now been received.
“Subject to operational planning, we expect the final section of the AWPR to open next week.
“An update will be provided when final arrangements are confirmed.”
The 36-mile road project has been faced with regular delays since construction officially commenced in 2015, including severe weather, safety incidents, defects on stretches including the Don Crossing and, most notably, the collapse of construction giant Carillion, a former member of ARL.
The AWPR is designed to reduce traffic congestion in and around Aberdeen and speed journeys in the north-east and it was originally due to cost £735 million.
However, representatives from the ARL consortium of Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try told the Scottish Parliament in December that they would be seeking compensation from Transport Scotland for extra money spent on top of the original fixed contract price.
Fears have been raised that if the contractor’s claim is successful, the final cost of the entire project could be more than £1 billion.