First main section of delayed £745m Aberdeen bypass opens to motorists

The first main section of the new £745m Aberdeen bypass has finally opened following a long list of problems encountered on the major road project.

The four-mile section was officially open to motorists as of today (27 June) as contractors continue to plough ahead with the other 24 miles that will make up the completed Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR). While there is no official date for the final completed opening, workers continue to strive for an autumn finish.

It’s been a long time in the making for the opening of the first section with the bypass suffering initial delays due to legal action. Preparatory work initially began in August 2014, while construction started in February 2015. However, Carillion’s collapse at the start of the year added to the woes of contractors and left partners Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try to cover the costs.

Back in March, the Scottish economy secretary was forced to admit the major road project which was scheduled for completion in spring this year, would not be open till the autumn with delays meaning the official opening date had been pushed back by six months.

While in May, Galliford Try, said it expected the practical completion of the project could be completed this summer but has conceded it faces additional costs due to delays and bad weather. It predicted weather-related additional costs of less than £25m. 

Galliford Try, Balfour Beatty and Carillion, were responsible for delivering one of Scotland’s biggest infrastructure projects but when Birmingham-based Carillion liquidated in January, the remaining two partners were left to pick up the pieces. Galliford Try was then forced in February to admit it expected the cost of completing the bypass to be £150m higher than it had originally projected.

Commenting on the first section opening, a Transport Scotland spokesperson said: "The Parkhill to Blackdog section is the first section of the mainline trunk road to open and is the most substantial section of the project to open to date. It was our intention to open new sections of road as they become available, and we are doing just that. The new road will provide thousands of drivers every day with a range of benefits, including reduced journey times, improved journey time reliability, better local access and reduced congestion, while safety will also be enhanced."

The much-anticipated bypass will also have a positive impact on the busy traffic between Charleston and Blackdog on the existing A90, according to Transport Scotland. The organisation has predicted traffic on that stretch of road will be reduced by 30% when the AWPR opens.

A spokesman for the transport body added: “The AWPR is expected to reduce traffic between Charleston and Blackdog on the existing A90 by more than 30%. Transport Scotland, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council are in the process of reaching an agreement to allow the necessary actions to be taken to safeguard the road condition.”

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