Michael Matheson yesterday said the final stretch of the Aberdeen bypass would not be opened until the contractors had provided assurances that remedial work on the Don Crossing was complete.
The Transport Secretary was asked at Holyrood by the Tory MSP Jamie Greene when the delayed Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) would be fully open to traffic.
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At the end of last year contractors Aberdeen Roads Ltd estimated that the Don Crossing section would be finished by the end of 2018 subject to weather and safety checks.
In the Scottish Parliament, Mr Matheson said the contractors had advised him that the remedial work was complete on the Don Crossing.
But he added: “They have still to provide assurances about the remedial work that has been undertaken and the enhanced monitoring arrangements that are being put in place for that. Once they provide that information, it will be passed to Transport Scotland which will then consider it in relation to the opening of the final section of the road.”
Mr Matheson also maintained that the cost of the project to the public purse remained at its fixed contract sum of £745 million. In December last year the contractors estimated the total cost was more than £1 billion.
The contractors have said they will claim for compensation in an attempt to claw back some of the cash they have spent on the project.
Mr Matheson said: “The cost still stands at £745 million, as was set out in the contract. The member will recognise that the contractors have stated that they have made a claim, which is not unusual for a major infrastructure project of this nature. As I have made clear, any claim has to be substantiated and evidence based.
“To date, the contractors have not provided evidence to substantiate any claim. Therefore, the present financial cost still stands.”