AWPR section opening delayed

Work on the AWPR at Balmedie
Work on the AWPR at Balmedie

The opening of the Balmedie to Tipperty section of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) has been delayed.

The section had been scheduled to open in Spring next year but motorists will now have to wait until winter 2017/18.

Local councillors attended the AWPR project briefing in early November and were told the development was on schedule.

Ellon and District councillor, Gillian Owen, was at the meeting and has expressed outrage at the announcement.

Cllr Owen said: “This is dire news, surely the contractor would have known in November that there would be a significant delay and having told us at the briefing that there was no slippage I now find that very hard to believe.

“Councillors attending these briefings go along to seek assurance and on this occasion an assurance was given but it was totally untrue, which is a very sad state of affairs.”

Meanwhile Scottish Liberal Democrats transport spokesperson Mike Rumbles MSP blasted the Scottish Government following the delay.

Mr Rumbles said: “The SNP have been only too keen to point out in the past that this was one of their few infrastructure projects proceeding on time. Ministers were giving assurances until very recently.

“Now we find out that road users will be waiting another year for the Balmedie to Tipperty section to open.

“They can’t deliver the new Queensferry crossing on time, it’s going to take to 2021 for them to start work on the Laurencekirk junction and now we learn they can’t build the bypass on time either. This is a ridiculous display of incompetence from the Scottish Government.

“A ‘challenge’ to contractors to mitigate the effects of the delay where possible is ridiculous posturing from Ministers who know that ultimately the buck stops with them.

“People in the North East have had to put up with substandard transport infrastructure for a long time. Ministers must get a grip of this now before we see the timetable pushed back even further.”