Transport Secretary confirms AWPR will be fully open on Tuesday
The delayed Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) will be fully opened to motorists within days, Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has announced.
The final stretch of the 36-mile bypass was expected to be completed before Christmas.
Mr Matheson has now confirmed the stretch of road between Craibstone and Parkhill will open to traffic before the morning rush hour on Tuesday February 19.
The Transport Secretary thanked motorists, businesses and communities in the North East, who he said had been “extremely patient waiting for the final section of the road to be opened”.
All work on the AWPR had initially been set to be completed by spring 2018 – but the project was delayed by factors such as the weather and the collapse of construction firm Carillion.
The new road has been built under a £745 million fixed-price contract – but in December contractors told MSPs delays had resulted in hundreds of millions of pounds in additional costs, taking the overall cost to more than £1 billion.
But over the next 30 years it expected to bring an additional £6 billion to the North East economy, according to Transport Scotland, and help create around 14,000 jobs.
Mr Matheson said the opening of the Parrkhill and Craibstone stretch of the road “allows the full benefits of this transformational project to be fully realised”.
He added: “Since the major part of the road opened in December 2018, the overwhelmingly positive feedback has demonstrated the positive impact that infrastructure can bring about in people’s lives, the quality of their environment and the economy as a whole.
“The bypass was first proposed over 65 years ago but it took this Government to take the project forward in a meaningful way back in 2007.
“Despite the many challenges since then, we have taken a responsible and steadfast approach to delivering for the long-term benefit of the people and businesses of the North East and Scotland as a whole.”
Confirmation of the opening date comes after Aberdeen Roads Limited provided the necessary technical assurances for the River Don Crossing, which were needed before the new section of road could open to traffic.
Both Aberdeen City Council and the neighbouring Aberdeenshire Council invested £75 million in the work.
Jenny Laing, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “The AWPR is a vital component of Aberdeen City Council’s £1 billion capital programme underpinned by the Regional Economic Strategy which is providing the bedrock for a bright, prosperous future for the city and wider region.
“The opening of the AWPR, a much-needed and long-awaited development, will have as significant an impact from an economic perspective as it will in terms of transport.”
Aberdeenshire Council leader Jim Gifford said: “This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for.
“Aberdeenshire Council’s £75 million investment in this transformational project has gone a long way and the result is truly impressive.
“There have certainly been challenges along the way but we must now focus on the benefits we are already beginning to enjoy in terms of improved connectivity and reduced congestion, as well as the opportunities the route presents to existing and new businesses.
“I’d like to thank everybody involved for making this vision a reality.”