Min­is­ter to work with con­trac­tors over by­pass de­lay

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - NEWS - BY STEPHEN WALSH

Scot­land’s trans­port sec­re­tary has held crunch talks with AWPR bosses over the on­go­ing de­lays to the open­ing of the £745 mil­lion de­vel­op­ment.

Last week Michael Math­e­son told par­lia­ment that Aberdeen Roads Lim­ited (ARL) had pushed back the “late au­tumn” com­ple­tion date of the Aberdeen By­pass and now hoped to have it open in De­cem­ber.

The min­is­ter had been un­der grow­ing pres­sure to ex­plain why the road had yet to be fully opened, de­spite con­tin­u­ing to prom­ise it would be open by this month. The lon­gawaited launch has been stalled be­cause of re­pairs which are needed on the River Don bridge.

Mr Math­e­son has now met with ARL af­ter call­ing the con­trac­tor’s fail­ure to open the 19-mile Craib­stone to Stone­haven sec­tion “sim­ply un­ac­cept­able”.

It comes af­ter north-east politi­cians called on the ARL con­trac­tors Gal­li­ford Try and Bal­four Beatty to be brought be­fore MSPs to ad­dress the de­lays that have plagued the project.

Last night Mr Math­e­son said: “I am well aware this has been a dif­fi­cult project for the con­trac­tors and agree­ing this vari­a­tion would im­me­di­ately al­low the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to re­lease ap­pro­pri­ate pay­ment to ARL for the work they have com­pleted sat­is­fac­to­rily.

“The meet­ing was pos­i­tive and both par­ties have agreed to work con­struc­tively to­gether to progress the con­tract vari­a­tion nec­es­sary to open the next sec­tion of this project be­tween Craib­stone and Stone­haven and Charles­ton.

“I have sched­uled a fur­ther dis­cus­sion with the con­trac­tors early next week to en­sure that we con­tinue to make the nec­es­sary progress. For my part, I have com­mit­ted to ex­plore ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to make this hap­pen.

“I have been en­cour­aged by Gal­li­ford Try’s trad­ing state­ment this week. This con­firms the Don Cross­ing is ex­pected to be com­pleted in De­cem­ber.

“I and my of­fi­cials at Trans­port Scot­land will there­fore con­tinue to of­fer ARL all the sup­port re­quired to con­clude re­me­dial work at the Don and open the full project as quickly as pos­si­ble.

“We con­tinue to thank the peo­ple and busi­nesses of the north-east for their pa­tience, es­pe­cially in the past few weeks. Be in no doubt, I share the frus­tra­tion they feel.”

PROGRESS: Aerial pho­to­graphs from Cabro Avi­a­tion and HJS He­li­copters of the new bridge over the River Dee near Mill­tim­ber

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