A major section of the delayed Aberdeen bypass will open on Wednesday, officials have announced.
The 20-mile stretch of the new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) covering the A90 between Stonehaven and Craibstone and the A956 between Cleanhill and Charleston will open early on Wednesday morning, Transport Scotland said.
The police will open the junctions on a phased basis, starting at Craibstone and followed by Stonehaven, Charleston, Deeside, Kingswells South and the A90 southbound exit slip road only at Kingswells North.
Officials said there will be no access to the northbound AWPR from Kingswells North for safety reasons until the whole road is complete.
Contractors hope to have a remaining section of the bypass, crossing the River Don, completed by Christmas, but this is weather-dependent.
Work on the 36-mile road was due to be completed in spring 2018 but was hit by delays.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This new section of road, which will make more than 85% of the project open to traffic, will immediately make a tremendous difference to road users across the north east.
“It will provide thousands of drivers every day with a range of benefits, including improved journey time reliability, better local access and reduced congestion, while safety will also be enhanced.
“It will also improve air quality and reduce traffic volume in Aberdeen City, making pedestrian and cycle travel around Aberdeen easier, safer and a more enjoyable experience.”
He added: “The full benefits of these works will be realised when the remaining section of the project between Craibstone and Parkhill also opens to traffic.
“This investment is expected to bring in an additional £6 billion to the north-east economy and create around 14,000 jobs over the next 30 years.”
Earlier, he said it had taken his intervention for this to happen, despite this stretch having been completed two months ago.
Last week, contractors giving evidence at a Holyrood committee confirmed the total cost of the bypass will top £1 billion.
The road is being built under a £745 million fixed-price contract but contractors told MSPs delays to the project resulted in hundreds of million of additional costs.
Negotiations are ongoing about who is liable for any extra costs and Transport Scotland has said it does not recognise the £1 billion claim.
Mr Matheson has said if ongoing negotiations do not resolve the matter it could end up in court and has pledged to notify parliament if any additional costs to the taxpayer over £745 million are incurred.