Scottish minister to seek AWPR ‘clarity’

Scotland’s transport minister has requested an urgent meeting with the contractors of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) to seek clarity on the timescales.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson has urged the AWPR contractors to ‘stop deliberating and start acting’ and has requested an ‘urgent’ meeting with the contractors’ board members to seek clarity on the timescales for opening the remaining sections of the AWPR.

Last month Transport Scotland was informed that a greater scope of work would be necessary to repair defects at the River Don Crossing. Aberdeen Roads, led by Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try, is now working to ascertain a new date for when the Don will be ready to open. 

Matheson also confirmed that discussions to open the 31.5km section from Craibstone to Stonehaven and Charleston have taken place. However, this requires a change to the original contract which the contractor has yet to agree.

He said: “Earlier this week, I spoke with Peter Truscott, chief executive of Galliford Try to receive an update on the progress they were making in discussing this variation with their lenders. Despite assurances that they were doing everything possible to open the road at the earliest opportunity, as well as a clear indication from Mr Truscott that they were making the necessary changes to the AWPR contract to open the 31.5km section, I was then disappointed to receive a letter from him which contradicted our discussion.

“It is this kind of inconsistency which is frustrating efforts to progress the opening of this new section. As recently as 12 September, Galliford Try issued a statement to markets to say the AWPR was on target to open in late Autumn 2018 and we had no reason to doubt that assessment.

“I have been urging the contractor to conclude its deliberations for some time. I repeated this to him on Monday and reiterated it again today in writing, It is now time for the contractor to stop deliberating and start acting. It now has to take the necessary steps to open the majority of this road and let the people of the North East enjoy the benefits they have been so patiently anticipating.

“I have therefore asked for unequivocal confirmation that the agreement is being progressed and when it will be concluded.”