‘ £350m BILL’ FOR DELAYS TO BY­PASS

Roads firm claim worth ‘hun­dreds of mil­lions’ as AWPR costs top £1bn Trans­port Sec­re­tary ad­mits row over costs could end up in court

Evening Express (City Final) - - Front Page - BY DALE HASLAM AND ADELE MER­SON

THE con­sor­tium build­ing Aberdeen’s by­pass is pre­par­ing to bid for an ex­tra £350 mil­lion from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment due to the spi­ralling costs of the pro­ject. The Evening Ex­press can to­day re­veal the scale of the claim af­ter con­trac­tors re­vealed the cost of the £745m scheme, which aims to im­prove north-east traf­fic flow, was now more than £1 bil­lion. As re­ported in later editions of yesterday’s Evening Ex­press, the con­trac­tors told politi­cians dur­ing a Holy­rood meet­ing hun­dreds of mil­lions of pounds over the fixed price con­tract had been spent on the AWPR pro­ject. They re­fused to say if the firms in the con­sor­tium would be seek­ing tens or hun­dreds of mil­lions in ex­tra pay­ments from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment. How­ever, a pro­ject in­sider told the Evening Ex­press the claim would be in the re­gion of £350m. The con­trac­tor did how­ever con­firm it would foot the bill for worked needed to re­pair de­fects at the new A90 Don cross­ing. Trans­port Sec­re­tary Michael Mathe­son, who last month blasted con­trac­tors on the pro­ject for reneg­ing on a pledge within 24 hours, told MSPS at yesterday’s ru­ral econ­omy and con­nec­tiv­ity com­mit­tee he could not com­ment on the size of the claim due to con­fi­den­tial­ity, while a Trans­port Scot­land spokesman said: “This (claims) process has not yet con­cluded so we are not in a po­si­tion to pro­vide fur­ther de­tails.” He added it could be years be­fore the is­sue is re­solved – and Mr Mathe­son said the dis­pute may end up go­ing to court. Con­trac­tors said the Craib­stone to Stone­haven sec­tion of the AWPR is to open next week and the River Don Cross­ing will be op­er­at­ing by Christ­mas – open­ing up the en­tire route to mo­torists. At the meet­ing, West Scot­land Tory MSP Jamie Greene re­ferred to a doc­u­ment of Bal­four Beatty – one of three AWPR con­trac­tors along­side Gal­li­ford Try and Aberdeen Roads Ltd (ARL). The doc­u­ment stated the com­pen­sa­tion claim or “re­cov­ery po­si­tion” was “highly probable to suc­ceed”. Bal­four Beatty’s ma­jor projects

man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Stephen Tarr told the com­mit­tee: “There are sig­nif­i­cant costs that run into the hun­dreds of mil­lions and it has placed an ad­di­tional bur­den on Gal­li­ford Try and Bal­four Beatty. “We have a claim for a not in­signif­i­cant sum which we are in dis­cus­sions with Trans­port Scot­land over.” A Trans­port Scot­land spokesman said: “It is not un­usual for claims to be raised by a con­trac­tor on large com­plex in­fra­struc­ture projects such as this one. “Like most con­tracts of this na­ture, the AWPR con­tract con­tains a mech­a­nism for deal­ing with claims.” He added that Trans­port Scot­land has been in di­a­logue with con­trac­tors to gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the ex­act na­ture of the claim. “How­ever Aberdeen Road Lim­ited has yet to pro­vide the ev­i­dence to sub­stan­ti­ate any such claim. This process has not yet con­cluded, so we are not in a po­si­tion to pro­vide fur­ther de­tails,” he said. “ARL spent two years in di­a­logue bid­ding for the pro­ject where the risks as­so­ci­ated with it were known and this did not de­ter it from bid­ding for and win­ning the con­tract for this ma­jor pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture pro­ject.”

The bridge over the River Don should be ready for Christ­mas

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