A NORTH_EAST Lib Dem MSP has challenged the Transport Minister over the Government’s plans for progressing work on dualing the A90 between Balmedie and Tipperty, after it emerged that the project was still being ‘bundled’ with the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, despite the ongoing legal challenge to that project.
The Scottish Government is keen to treat the projects as one single package together with the planned Haudagin Roundabout improvements, in the belief that it will be possible to build all three for a lower price if treated as a single contract. However, Mrs McInnes claims that by not decoupling Balmedie-Tipperty from the AWPR as had been suggested would happen, there is still no timetable for the project’s completion.
In his response to Mrs McInnes, Transport Minister Brown said that there were good reasons for bundling the projects together.
“What we announced last week will ensure that we can start the design work on the Balmedie to Tipperty project in anticipation of a positive outcome for the AWPR in the courts”, he said. “We will then be able to start on that with no delay. That approach has the full support of Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City Council, and that is how we intend to proceed.”
However, Mrs McInnes remained unimpressed with the Government’s stance, describing the announcement as a “false start.”
“Combining the Balmedie-Tipperty dualling with the ever-delayed AWPR was a mistake, one that means we are still waiting for the vital work to start, long after it could have otherwise been completed”, she said.
“We were led to believe that the Government had finally seen sense and decoupled the projects, but now the Minister has been forced to admit that isn’t the case. Design work on Balmedie-Tipperty hasn’t even begun – and work on the road proper will not happen separate to the AWPR.
“This is a bitter blow to those of us who use the A90 regularly, not to mention the local residents who are suffering from the ongoing uncertainty. The Minister must listen to these concerns, and he must think again and act to ensure that work on the Balmedie-Tipperty link begins as soon as possible.”