Link road carbon cut claim as overall project cost rises
Changes have been made to the construction process of the Cross Tay Link Road (CTLR) project to reduce its carbon footprint following a backlash from local communities and public figures.
Perth and Kinross Council has said contractor BAM Nuttall has undertaken “detailed design development and changes to construction methodologies” and claims to have reduced its carbon output by more than 35,000 tonnes.
It is thought that this is the equivalent of taking more than 20,000 small cars off the road for a year, according to calculations based on statistics from the UK government’s Department of Transport.
BAM was contracted to reduce carbon by 30 per cent of the baseline from the original design by PKC, but is said to have exceeded this target by almost 35 per cent.
Further carbon reductions are being targeted during the construction phase of the project.
It comes in the wake of Perth and Kinross Council voting to approve an additional £32.5 million-worth of funding for the CTLR’s construction, which brings the total budget for the project as a whole to more than £150m.
Following the announcement, Labour Carse of Gowrie councillor Alasdair Bailey proposed a motion calling for the council’s SNP administration to delay or stop the project on climate grounds.
Audit Scotland’s accounts commission had just published a briefing telling local authorities to put climate change “at the heart” of their decision-making.
Community groups in the likes of Coupar Angus and Scone have continuously voiced concerns over the project’s potential future impact in terms of traffic congestion, pollution and noise.
Dundee University professor Jill Belch, who specialises in molecular and clinical medicine, described the additional funding for the project as “frankly unconscionable when we have a climate crisis”.
William Diver, BAM Nuttall project director, said: “There is no way to undertake the construction of a complex major infrastructure project such as the Cross Tay Link Road without having significant carbon outputs, however with careful design and project management, combined with smart project delivery, we can make considerable carbon reductions.”
The CTLR – the largest infrastructure project Perth and Kinross Council has ever undertaken – involves the construction of
a new three-span bridge over the River Tay and six kilometres of new road linking the A9 and the A93 to Blairgowrie and the A94 north of Scone.
It also includes the realignment of two kilometres of dual carriageway on the A9 just north of the Inveralmond Roundabout.
The new road aims to significantly reduce traffic congestion and related
pollution in Perth city centre while opening up active travel opportunities and giving access to areas around the city for sustainable development.
To help keep carbon emissions to a minimum, the project has been designed to recycle every tonne of earth that needs to be moved during construction.
By keeping all earthworks movements within the site boundary, PKC says the contractor has “significantly reduced” construction traffic being added to the local road network.
This, along with changes to road pavements, footways, cycleways and road drainage through using more sustainable solutions and the use of lower carbon materials, along with design changes to the bridge structures, all helped BAM surpass its carbon reduction targets.
Mr Diver added: “Simple steps like using modern plant with low fuel consumption, GPS-enabled plant and sustainable material selection, and sourcing locally, all contributed towards the lowering of the carbon footprint of the project.
“This is just the start of the construction phase, so we will be refining and improving the way we work to deliver even more carbon reductions as the project develops.”
Jillian Ferguson, the council’s roads infrastructure manager, said: “Reducing carbon output is a key deliverable for the project when it is complete as it will act as an enabler to help shift traffic out of the city centre and promote active travel options.
“We are pleased with the progress BAM is making in putting carbon reduction as a central theme during the detailed design and construction phase of the project.”